In the midst of planning an $800 million redevelopment of its Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem property, operator Las Vegas Sands Corporation has reportedly told employees at the Pennsylvania venue that the casino could be about to be sold.
According to a report from The Morning Call newspaper, Mark Juliano, President for the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, made the revelation in an e-mail sent to workers at the Northampton County property while he also assured employees that they would be kept appraised of any future developments.
“We have been told today that Sands [Casino Resort] Bethlehem has a potential buyer; it is a sole buyer interested in purchasing the property,” read the Thursday e-mail from Juliano. “The sale is not imminent and there is a lot of work that still needs to be done before a sale is final.”
The Morning Call reported that Bethlehem mayor Robert Donchez confirmed that Juliano had shared the news with him on Thursday evening while Ron Reese, a spokesperson for Las Vegas Sands Corporation, declined to comment further but did release an official statement from the Las Vegas-based casino giant.
“Las Vegas Sands [Corporation] is regularly approached about potential interests in various assets,” read the statement from Reese. “The company has no announcement to make at this time.”
Following nearly six years of negotiations, last week saw security guards at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem make history by becoming the first unionized group to successfully negotiate a contract with Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which is run by 83-year-old billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. The operator has more than 50,000 employees around the world including at developments in Macau, Singapore and Las Vegas and had consistently been opposed to efforts by its workers to unionize but was ultimately forced to the table following a 2015 ruling from the National Labor Relations Board.
“We know how much Sheldon Adelson hates unions and we talked about it a lot,” George Bonser, a recently retired Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem security guard that helped to ignite the efforts to unionize, told The Morning Call. “We worried he might try to unload the whole place but it just seems too drastic. I would hope [that] it did not play a role.”
The Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, which houses over 3,000 slots alongside some 200 gaming tables, opened in 2009 with its owner reportedly revealing only four years later that he was prepared to sell the property for the right price. Adelson then allegedly attempted to offload the venue to Carl Icahn, owner of Tropicana Entertainment Incorporated, in 2013 before reconsidering and subsequently bringing in Juliano, who had been one of his top executives in Singapore.
“We are certainly proud of the financial success Sands [Casino Resort] Bethlehem has achieved but we are also very proud of fulfilling the commitments we made to the people of the Lehigh Valley,” read a 2014 statement from Adelson. “Bringing pride back to a historic site many thought was lost for good is the real legacy of Sands [Casino Resort] Bethlehem and that is the foundation on which we will continue to build.”
Along with the main hotel and casino building, which was once home to a works of Bethlehem Steel, The Morning Call reported that Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s holdings in the Bethlehem area moreover encompass a sliver of nearby land where the city wants to build a parking garage.
“If there is a sale, we certainly want to work with the new owner to develop the rest of the site,” Donchez told the newspaper. “If not, I would urge the new owner to sell pieces of the property so that others could develop it.”