Wind Creek Hospitality, a privately held affiliate of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama, reached a definitive deal with Las Vegas Sands Corporation to acquire the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa., for $1.3 billion.
The 159,000-square-foot casino is set to be the largest in Wind Creek’s portfolio, and is located in an adaptive-reuse development of the Bethlehem Steel refinery. The sale is subject to regulatory review and final closing of the site, and is expected to take nine to 12 months to complete. At this time, the sale is the largest single-asset casino property sale outside of Las Vegas or Atlantic City.
According to The Morning Call, in Wind Creek’s home state of Alabama it remains illegal to build or operate casinos on nontribal land. However, Wind Creek is reacting to challenges from Alabama’s state legislature, where ongoing debates to overturn the rule frequently appear. With future casino competition in Alabama likely to occur, it makes sense for Wind Creek to look for opportunities outside the state, according to the paper. In October, Wind Creek acquired the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino and the Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino in the Caribbean.
Wind Creek said in a news release that it will be funding the acquisition of the Bethlehem Sands using a combination of existing cash and new debt financing from Credit Suisse. Innovation Capital was the exclusive financial adviser behind the deal with Wind Creek.
In 2017, the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem earned $579 million in revenue, up from $571 million in 2016.