Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem has been placed on the selling block by Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson, a source told The Morning Call on Thursday.
Las Vegas Sands is asking for as much as $1 billion for the Bethlehem property, according to the source. The casino is the second-largest in Pennsylvania based on gambling revenue, and a report released this week showed that the casino made more money on table games like poker than another other Pennsylvania casino in 2012.
According to The Morning Call, analysts believe that it could be the right time to sell the property with revenues riding high, and potential gambling competition developing in neighboring New York State. Since 2009, Sands has spent $800 million to develop the Bethlehem casino, which employs 2,500 people and reportedly generates more than $9 million toward the city's annual budget.
Bethlehem officials have praised Las Vegas Sands for helping grow the local economy. And despite numerous rumors floating around, Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan told The Morning Call that he has no knowledge about the sale of the Bethlehem casino.
"I have not heard a single word about the Sands being sold, so I have no comment on that," Callahan said. "But you know we've had a great relationship with the Sands. When it comes to casinos, you can have a Walmart or you can have a Neiman Marcus. We've been fortunate to have the Neiman Marcus of casinos. What other casino company could have continued building the way they did right through the recession?"
Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese told Bloomberg that the sale of the Sands Bethlehem Casino is nothing but speculation at this point.
"We're very pleased with the financial performance of the Bethlehem property, and the role we have played as a partner in the community," Reese said. "But we do not comment on market speculation and rumor."
Last month, the Sands Bethlehem Casino hosted the 2012 Sands Bethlehem DeepStack Extravaganza Main Event, a $2,500 buy-in with a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool. The event was covered by PokerNews and attracted many of the top poker pros from the East Coast, but still fell short of the guarantee by more than $30,000. The event was won by Philadelphia native Chris Klodnicki, who collected a six-figure score after agreeing to a heads-up chop with Edward Pham.