Sands Bethlehem launches electronic table games; investor seeks Adelson’s head

sands-bethlehem-igt-electronic-table-gamesCasino operator Las Vegas Sands has launched its 150-station electronic table game (ETG) apparatus at its Pennsylvania property.

On Thursday, gaming device maker International Game Technology (IGT) announced that it had completed the installation of Sands Bethlehem’s new Live Dealer Stadium Gaming zone, which features around 150 of IGT’s Dynasty ETG cabinets.

The setup features four live dealing tables connected to terminals that allow players to electronically enter wagers. Players can place bets as low as $5 while more experienced players can reap the benefits of faster dealing and multi-game options.

Sands Bethlehem president Mark Juliano said the setup allowed “everyone an opportunity to win at their own pace.” Sands Bethlehem is Pennsylvania’s undisputed table game revenue leader and it appears unwilling to rest on those laurels.

Sands is the first Pennsylvania casino to launch an ETG setup. The company pitched the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on the system’s merits in March 2015 and the Board signed off on the plan last September.

Sands Bethlehem’s new toy is the largest live ETG destination in the United States but Sands has made great use of similar systems at its casinos in Macau. The ETG have proven popular with Macau operators due to the government’s controversial gaming table cap, under which the ETG stations count as a single table regardless of how many player positions they serve.

Meanwhile, a disgruntled Sands investor has filed a lawsuit seeking to clip the wings of CEO/chairman Sheldon Adelson for violating his fiduciary duties to shareholders.

In a 78-page complaint, William Sokolowski accuses Adelson of “operating the company in an illegal manner, including knowingly violating and thereafter covering up of” violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Bank Secrecy Act, the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Sokolowski’s evidence of such high crimes and misdemeanors consists of the millions of dollars Sands has paid out to the US Department of Justice, the SEC and Nevada regulators in recent years after turning a blind eye to money laundering and engaging in improper dealings with Chinese officials.

Sokolowski also accuses Adelson of “wasting corporate assets in a personal vendetta” against Steven Jacobs, the former CEO of Sands China, with whom Adelson engaged in a rancorous six-year legal fight over Jacobs’ abrupt termination. Sands only recently settled with Jacobs, and sources have claimed that this cost Sands as much as $100m.

Sokolowski claims Sands board of directors breached their fiduciary duty by showing more loyalty to Adelson than to shareholders and for doing little to rein in his personal excesses.

Sokolowski has asked the court to appoint outside parties to oversee Sands’ activities and to reform its governance, compliance and internal control procedures. In addition to the standard damages and costs, Sokolowski wants Adelson et al to repay the millions the company has paid out as a result of their historical transgressions.