When the property was owned and operated by Sands Corp., the last thing Sands Bethlehem Casino would have done is get involved with online gambling in Pennsylvania.
However, now that there are new owners and operators, namely Wind Creek Entertainment and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the property is moving forward on all types of online gambling. The casino secured online poker, table games, and slots licenses during the interactive licensing period. Additionally, the property submitted an application for a $10 million sports betting license in 2019.
So far, the property has not tipped its hand about which companies might partner with Wind Creek on these online gaming ventures.
History of Wind Creek Bethlehem
Las Vegas Sands Corp. was awarded one of the first five casino licenses granted by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) in 2006.
It soon broke ground on an ambitious casino and resort project on a piece of reclaimed land that once housed America’s second-largest steel producer and largest shipbuilder.
Construction began in the fall of 2007. Ironically, builders ran into difficulty finding structural steel for project due to a global steel shortage at the time. Plus, demolition took longer than expected because of the heavy concrete foundations used in construction of the old steel building on the site.
Having to face all those issues, one might wonder why Las Vegas Sands Corp. wanted to build a $600 million casino on the old Bethlehem Steel site in the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania. The answer lies in the location’s proximity to New York City, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City.
In fact, as ads across the area often claim, the Holland Tunnel under the Hudson River, connecting Manhattan and Jersey City, New Jersey, is less than an hour away.
The Bethlehem Steel site was strategically chosen because it gave Sands the best chance at attracting customers from its most populous areas in the region while taking away market share from other casinos all over the Northeast.
Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem didn’t meet its July 2008 projected opening date. However, it did open on May 22, 2009, and it was immediately a success. The state granted the property a license for table games in 2010. It then underwent a $30 million expansion, helping it grow into the highest-grossing casino in the state. Although, it now sits second behind only Parx Casino in Bensalem.
Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem now features more than 3,000 slot machines, 200 table games, and a number of electronic table games. It is also home to the second-highest grossing poker room in PA.
A hotel opened on the property in 2011. It is connected to the casino through The Outlets at Wind Creek Bethlehem, an indoor shopping mall. There is also a 14,000 square-foot event center on the property. The Wind Creek Bethlehem Event Center can fit up to 3,800 and regularly does, hosting concerts and various other forms of live entertainment throughout the year.
Once Pennsylvania passed its online gambling expansion act in 2017, the notoriously anti-online gambling Sands Corps started to look for a buyer for the property. Talks with MGM Resorts eventually stalled. Then, in March 2018, Sands announced it was selling the property to Wind Creek Entertainment, run by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
The property officially switched over in the fall of 2019. The property is now fully owned and operated by Wind Creek.
Casino games at Wind Creek
Wind Creek Bethlehem has a huge variety of slot machines. It has everything from the latest themed slots to progressive Jackpot machines ranging in denomination from 1¢ to $100.
There’s also a massive selection of video poker games on the property. Plus, Wind Creek has Live Dealer Stadium Gaming, offering low-limit, live dealer Baccarat and Roulette with electronic betting terminals.
However, Wind Creek Bethlehem is best known as the table games leader in PA. Classics like Blackjack and Roulette are there. However, so are rare Asian gambling favorites like Sic Bo and Pai Gow Tiles. Wind Creek also has Craps tables as lively as any in Las Vegas. Limits vary and so do the selection of games. In fact, with over 200 table games on the property, there’s likely something for everyone.
Alternative table games at Wind Creek include:
- Texas Hold’em Bonus
- Three Card Progressive Poker
- Fortune Pai Gow Poker
- Let It Ride Stud Poker
- Caribbean Stud Poker
- Mini/Midi Baccarat
- Big Six
- Casino War
The poker room is among the most popular in the state. The 27-table poker room spreads:
- Limit and no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em
The Wind Creek Bethlehem advantage
Wind Creek Bethlehem has all the latest slot titles players love, but its real advantage lies in its variety of sheer number of table games. It is far and away the table games leader in the PA casino market, giving it more of an old casino feel that any other gambling facility in the state.
Add in the fact it has a shopping mall, a hotel, and all the amenities, entertainment, and restaurant venues one would expect to find at a modern casino resort and Wind Creek Bethlehem advantage is clear.
Winf Creek has developed into a true entertainment destination. It was built in close proximity to New York City, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City in an effort attract clientele from the populous areas in the region and other casinos all over the Northeast. By all accounts it has succeeded in doing so.