The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on May 30 unanimously voted to renew the Category 2 Casino Operator’s License for the Northampton County-based Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem that is owned and operated by Sands Bethworks, LLC. After the 35-minute long Wednesday meeting, the 7-member board concluded that Sands Bethworks, LLC had fulfilled all the obligations and requirements under its previously approved operating licenses. As such, the operator qualified for the renewal of the license which will be valid for a five-year period.
While the operator’s conduct in the past can be said to be well above reproach, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s decision to renew Sand Berthworks, LLC’s license was based on a process that involved the utilization of information from both the operator and the public to determine whether or not it deserved to receive the new license. To that effect, the board hosted a public input hearing earlier this year in April in the City of Bethlehem, the casino’s host municipality.
At this hearing, the general public – community groups, local government officials, Pennsylvania State Police as well as Bureaus within the board itself – got to air their views pertaining to the casino’s operation. Also, the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem personnel submitted a number of exhibits and presented testimonies that outlined various aspects of the casino’s operation since its previous license was granted back in 2014.
Wednesday’s public hearing that was held in Harrisburg was also an opportunity for the board to question the operator’s representatives in order to iron out any remaining issues before their license could officially be renewed.
Sands Bethlehem President Brian Carr, during the hearing, took the Gaming Control Board through a 48-slide PowerPoint presentation that detailed various aspects of the roughly $1 billion gambling complex that the operator had built on the old Bethlehem Steel site. As he did during the first public hearing on April 5, Carr touched on issues that revolved around Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem’s casino offerings, non-gambling facilities and its impact on the community. He further spoke about other key issues such as additional competition and the company’s future offerings – all this had not been addressed before.
Since it was launched in May 2009, the casino has generated nearly $4 billion in gross revenue from slot machines and table games. The state has, in turn, been able to collect over $1.6 billion in gaming taxes from the operator – and, perhaps, this is what makes it such a vital component of the gaming industry in Pennsylvania. At the moment, the casino boasts of over 2,400 employees responsible for manning its over 3,000 slot machines and 245 table games.