The Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem opened up back in May 2009, and since then it has grown to be arguably the biggest casino of its kind in the state of Pennsylvania. While it’s done well in its current form to attract bettors, a recent vote in nearby New Jersey has spurred the popular hotspot to expand.
The state of New Jersey voted down the idea of expanding gambling to the northern part of the state, which has created an opportunity for the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem to step up and poach some players. Some studies have shown that there is still healthy demand for gaming in the neighborhood and now the Sands Casino doesn’t have to worry so much about more competition moving in. Originally, there was concern that New Jersey would build two $1 billion casinos, but with those out of the way the Sands Casino will be looking to build themselves up as an even bigger destination.
Recent reports suggest that the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem is set to undergo an expansion that will cost between $90-$100 million. As of now, the plan is to pump about $40 million into the current casino to add a new poker room and additional restaurants while the other $60 million would go towards a second hotel near the convention center. The Sands has already spent almost a billion dollars when it comes to the Bethlehem casino and with the additional investments it is going to have the biggest gaming floor in the state of Pennsylvania. Their table games section is already the most profitable for the Sands, outside of Las Vegas of course.
The Sands are hoping to get this construction underway as soon as January, but the company needs approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board first. For example, the Sands wants to expand the Bethlehem table games section by 81, which would put it over 300 and that means they need a special approval from the state, who set a limit of 250 table games in their casinos in 2004. The Sands are the first to ask for more than 250 games.
You would think that there would be a good chance that the state lets the Sands add more table games as the Bethlehem is, by far, the leader in bringing in revenue for Pennsylvania in that category. The Sands Bethlehem brings in a reported $18 million a month from their table games, which is 50% more than the next closest casino, the Parx Casino. Pennsylvania would also like to keep the competition at bay as Delaware, Maryland, New York, Ohio and West Virginia have all approved gambling legislation. Also, New York is trying to get into the casino game as well, so Pennsylvania would do well to get ahead of the curve and open up this expansion as quickly as possible.
The Sands will face more competition but the New Jersey casino rejection gives them a boost. They brought in $140 million in 2015 with over nine million players a year coming through the doors, and those numbers stand to increase if the expansion goes according to plan.