Sheldon Adelson not selling Sands Bethlehem – Will invest More in Casino
For several months, we’ve heard that Sheldon Adelson has been planning to sell his Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem property. But recently, Adelson said that he’s not only going to keep the Pennsylvania casino, but “double down” on it with new investments.
The rumor was that the Las Vegas Sands CEO wanted to sell Sands Bethlehem to Carl Icahn, owner of Tropicana Entertainment. However, there’s been some new developments with the casino, most notably new Sands Bethlehem President Mark Juliano. The Marina Bay Sands executive is taking over for Robert DeSalvio, who resigned so he could open a Wynn Resorts casino around Boston. Juliano also has a strong knowledge of the East Coast gaming market because he worked as an Atlantic City executive.
The announcement that Adelson is keeping the casino brings a sigh of relief to the 2,200 Sands Bethlehem workers. It’s also welcome news to the residents of Lehigh Valley. The 80-year-old casino magnate mentioned this while telling Lehigh Valley’s Morning Call the following:
We are certainly proud of the financial success Sands Bethlehem has achieved, but we are also very proud of fulfilling the commitments we made to the people of the Lehigh Valley. Bringing pride back to a historic site many thought was lost for good is the real legacy of Sands Bethlehem, and that is the foundation on which we will continue to build.
Rumors and speculation on the Sands Bethlehem sale started over three months ago, when Adelson announced that the casino was for sale for the right price. Icahn expressed heavy interest, but apparently he nor any other potential buyers met the figure in Adelson’s head.
Larry Klatzkin, a gambling industry expert and managing director of New York-based Rice Voelker, wasn’t surprised that Las Vegas Sands couldn’t find anybody to buy the casino. “It’s been on the block for a while, but I’m not surprised they didn’t get their price. I just couldn’t see Icahn paying $1 billion,” Klatzkin said. “Mark [Juliano] is a really good guy, and he knows East Coast gaming. This is good for Bethlehem.”
Sands Bethlehem is often touted as Pennsylvania’s most successful casino. However, the last year has been rough. In February, hackers broke into accounts and stole 30,000 to 70,000 social security numbers from hotel employees and customers. Plus DeSalvio left and the casino had its first profit decline for a quarter since 2009.