The casino business might be in the toilet around the globe, but that’s not stopping Las Vegas Sands from plowing ahead with expansion projects. On Sunday, Sands China announced that it had received the necessary approvals from the government in Macau to complete its $2.7b Parisian Macao resort casino. The company didn’t offer specifics on when the new venue might open, although the most recent estimate was sometime in 2016. The Parisian will feature over 3k hotel rooms, 490k-square-feet of retail space, food, beverage and convention facilities and a 50% scale replica of the Eiffel Tower.
Stateside, Sands is taking a more cautious approach toward a major upgrade to Sands Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, which consistently vies with the Parx Casino for top revenue generator in the state. In October, Sands hinted that it was looking to beef up the joint’s offering by doubling the hotel’s capacity, adding a 75k-square-foot convention center and a 110k-square-foot Bass Pro Shops on the site of the old Bethlehem Steel factory.
Since then, Sands has said nothing about the project. An asst. director for planning control for the City of Bethlehem told Lehigh Valley Business that “no meetings are scheduled and no plans have been submitted for renovations” to the site. A Sands Bethlehem marketing spokesman declined comment when asked re the status of the expansion. Frankly, we half suspect Sands is holding off on its expansion to use it as potential leverage in case state politicians make another attempt to pass online gambling legislation in 2015.
Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson (pictured) has long compared online gambling to drug addiction, so it’s only fitting that Sands Bethlehem helped collar an accused drug offender earlier this month. New York resident Alexi Loutsenko was gambling at the casino on Dec. 13 when he hit a jackpot. A subsequent check of his identification revealed that Loutsenko was wanted on drug charges in New Jersey. Court records didn’t specify the scale of Loutsenko’s jackpot but apparently it was under $300k because Loutsenko failed to post that sum in bail.