The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has approved the $1.3bn sale of the state’s Sands Bethlehem property, confirmed the PCI Gaming Authority which does business as Wind Creek Hospitality, an instrumentality of the Poarch Creek Band of Creek Indians.

Securing the sale from Las Vegas Sands, the closing of the transaction follows approximately 14 months of regulatory review and other customary closing conditions.

Lauded as a “landmark transaction” for the tribe, Jay Dorris, Wind Creek’s president and CEO, commented: “We are pleased with the decision of PGCB and anticipate moving quickly to close the transaction. I look forward to welcoming all the Sands Bethlehem employees to the Wind Creek family.”

The Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, located in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, which sits roughly 80 miles from New York City, is to be renamed Wind Creek Bethlehem upon integration into the WCH portfolio.

Amenities encapsulated within the property include a 183,000 square foot casino floor featuring 3,000 slots and electronic table games, 200 table games, 282-room AAA Four Diamond hotel, numerous food and beverage outlets, a 150,000 square foot retail mall and a multi-purpose event centre.  

Brian Carr, Sands president and COO, said of the transaction: “We are thankful for the strong foundation that Las Vegas Sands provided for us over the past decade. It is exciting to now shift our focus to the future as we begin the process to re-brand the property to Wind Creek Bethlehem.”

WCH anticipates to conduct an immediate effort to expand the property to include construction of a 300-room hotel adjacent to the casino, as well as moving forward with a renovation of the existing machine shop Bethlehem steel site, with ideas such as an adventure and water park that will include a 400 room hotel mooted.

Stephanie Bryan, Poarch Band of Creek Indians tribal chair and CEO, added: “The purchase of the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem is a valuable addition to the tribe’s existing gaming portfolio.  This investment will expand and complement our already extensive Wind Creek Hospitality brand’s offerings and bring added economic growth to the Lehigh Valley.”