Tribal Organization: Poarch Creek Indian
77 Sands Boulevard
Bethlehem, PA 18015
The Wind Creek Casino & Resort is located 82 miles from New York and 50 miles from Philadelphia. It opened as the Sands Bethlehem in May 2009 at a cost of $743 million and was built on the site the former Bethlehem Steel plant. Since its opening the Bethlehem casino has been the most successful in Pennsylvania.
On March 8, 2018 a deal was announced to sell the Bethlehem casino to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama. The casino was be acquired by the tribe and managed by Wind Creek Hospitality, the tribe's gaming and hotel operation.
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May 27, 2019
The $1.3 billion sale of Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem to Alabama's Poarch Band of Creek Indians can now proceed with this week's approval by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
The Board also approve licenses for the tribe and its gaming executives. The casino will be managed by Wind Creek Hospitality, the gaming and hospitality operation for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
Wind Creek President and CEO Jay Dorris said: "Our expectation for this property is it will be the No. 1 resort destination in the Northeast."
Two major projects are planned to achieve this:
$90M HOTEL EXPANSION
Wind Creek will build a 276-room hotel and add 42,000 square feet of meeting space. This will add to the property's current 282-room hotel and 27,000 square feet of meeting space. Construction is expected to last 2 years.
$250M ADVENTURE AND WATER PARK
This project will transform the No. 2 Machine Shop of the old Bethlehem Steel factory into a 300,000 square foot water park and 400-room hotel.
These property enhancements are estimated to add 1.4 million visitors to the current 9 million vistors per year.
March 18, 2019
As the sale of Sands Bethlehem to Alabama's Poarch Band of Creek Indians is in the final stage of approval by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the new name of the casino was unveiled this week when the sign on the ore crane was changed to Wind Creek Casino and Resort.
Approval to change the sign was approved by the Bethlehem Planning Commission last week following a presentation by Wind Creek Hospitality. Wind Creek Hospitality is the gaming and hotel operation of the Alabama tribe.
The board approved changing all signs to the new name. The Outlets at Sands Bethlehem will be renamed The Outlets after the sale is finalized.
When the sale is finalized, Wind Creek Hospitality plans to break ground on a second hotel as part of a $190 million expansion of the property. They are also considering building an indoor water park.
March 08, 2018
On Thursday an announcement was made that the Sands Bethlehem Bethlehem is being bought by Wind Creek Hospitality. The company is owned by the Alabama based Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
$1.3 billion is being spent to purchase the property.
The tribe is made up of 3,000 members. They currently have casino locations in the northwestern section of Florida. Another location is in the southern area of Alabama. The casinos are considered smaller in size. They do operate with a Class II gaming license. This means they can operate pull tab based games, as well as bingo. Gaming regulators in Alabama will not allow for the operation of slot machines. Wind Creek has expressed interested in being able to operate slot machines.
The Sands Bethlehem will be nearly three times larger than the other facilities. Plus the tribe will be allowed to offer slot machine gaming.
A deal was made in 2016 to purchase the Margaritaville Resort Casino located in Louisiana. However, agreements on licensing of the name cause the deal to fall through.
The tribe also purchased 35 acres of land in Mississippi in 2016. Plans were announced last year for a new Wind Creek Casino location.
When the tribe bought the Sands Bethlehem questions were raised about possible other casino purchases in the future.
The gaming industry is not the only business that the tribe has invested in. OWA is an entertainment amusement park that was opened last year. It cost $260 million and is located in Foley, Alabama.