Six retailers opened for business today at the Sands Casino Resort, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in the next phase of expansion among Pennsylvania’s gambling halls. In a bid to become shopping and entertainment centres, just like their Atlantic City rivals, these six were the first stores to open inside the complex.
Sands president, Robert DeSalvio, said several more stores, including Guess and Coach, would open over the next four months. By early 2012, there are to be 31 stores that will lease space in the mall.
In a report by Philly.com, DeSalvio said: “Outlet shopping is always expanding in this economy” as he greeted the first shoppers and gave reporters a walking tour of the mall. “We’re happy to present this amenity to the Lehigh Valley.”
Owners of the casino, Las Vegas Sands Corp. reported solid third-quarter results last week. Net revenue increased 26.2 percent year-over-year to $2.41 billion.
Speaking of Las Vegas Sands, news today suggests the casino resort company plans to compete with Genting Group, and other gaming industry leaders, for one of three coveted resort casino licenses that would become available in South Florida under newly proposed legislation.
In a report by Miami Today, Andy Abboud, Vice President of Government Affairs for Las Vegas Sands, confirmed that Las Vegas Sands is interested in several blocks in the Park West area of downtown controlled by the Miami World Center group. He said: “We’re in active conversations with Miami World Center. We think that site is very attractive, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t other options out there.” He added that the Sands project would offer hotel rooms, entertainment venues, convention and meeting space in addition to a casino, but he said it is premature to discuss details.
But not everybody is in favour for such ventures. Reports today confirm that a coalition of religious and anti-gambling groups are launching an aggressive lobbying campaign to convince the Legislature to reject a plan to allow massive luxury casinos in two South Florida counties.
Groups such as the Florida Baptist Convention, the Florida Catholic Conference, Florida Casino Watch and Florida Family Action (basically, a mass of bible-bashers and ill-informed gambling-haters) said they oppose any measure to expand gambling because it apparently “victimizes poor people, tempts compulsive gamblers, sullies the state’s family-friend image and could harm businesses that rely on tourists”.
Do they really think that way though – or were they brainwashed by the Bible and/or the government to think like that? Which ever, does anyone (except for themselves) really care? Perhaps someone should point out to them how casinos contribute greatly to a state’s or province’s economy with the large amount of tourism and revenue the gambling industry brings in.