UPDATE: Pennsylvania state Senator Lisa Boscola claims Sand’s unidentified suitor is MGM Resorts and that the company had made Sands “almost an offer they couldn’t refuse.”
On Thursday, the Allentown Morning Call reported that Sands Bethlehem staff had received emails from the casino’s president, Mark Juliano, informing them that there is “a sole buyer interested in purchasing the property.” Juliano cautioned that the sale was “not imminent” and a lot of work remained before a sale might be concluded.
Sands corporate spokesman Ron Reese responded to the reports by saying only that the company “is regularly approached about potential interest in various assets” and the company had no further statement to make on the subject at present.
Sands Bethlehem employees have been down this road before. In 2014, Las Vegas Sands denied reports that the property was on the block, and the company subsequently announced a major upgrade to Sands Bethlehem’s facilities.
Last week saw Sands Bethlehem’s 146 security guards overwhelmingly vote in favor of a new union contract, marking the first time a union has been formed at any Las Vegas Sands property. Sands owner Sheldon Adelson is notoriously anti-union and has demonstrated a willingness to engage in decade-long legal fights with unions to keep them away from his workers.
George Bonser, a former security guard at Sands Bethlehem who was instrumental in pushing for the union, told the Morning Call that the guards were all too aware of Adelson’s anti-union sentiment and “we worried he might try to unload the whole place but it just seems too drastic. I would hope [the vote] didn’t play a role.”
Should the sale go forward, Adelson’s absence from the Pennsylvania could have a positive effect on the state’s efforts to approve intrastate online gambling. Adelson hates online gambling almost as much as he hates unions, and Sands Bethlehem’s role as the state’s top casino performer offers him a significant platform from which to lobby state legislators.