Wind Creek Bethlehem has made its mark since its May 2009 opening as Sands Casino Resort with a vast appeal to table games players as well as slots aficionados, and it’s reaching out to both in September-October with special prize contests.
Wind Creek Hospitality, the casino-based arm of the Alabama-based Poarch Band of Creek Indians, has been busy with a rebranding campaign since the tribe’s $1.3 billion acquisition of the casino in late May from Las Vegas Sands Corp.
The Lehigh Valley property has long been the No. 2 overall revenue generator in the state behind Parx Casino, but first in table games, thanks in large part to its massive Baccarat gaming area. In the 2018-19 fiscal year, it netted $228 million in table games revenue compared to $295.7 million from slots. No other Pennsylvania casino comes as close in its proportion of tables-to-slots revenue.
Revenue on both sides was down a few percentage points last year, however, and Wind Creek Hospitality is clearly hoping to reverse that trend.
As part of that effort, its website is promoting $1 million prize contests for both blackjack and slots.
The blackjack tournament involves a group of Friday sit-and-go tourneys from Sept. 13-Oct. 4, followed by a preliminary tourney on Oct. 18 and grand finale Oct. 19 with a top $500,000 grand prize.
For slots players who earn 500 points in rated slot play in the month of September, a $1 million “sweepstakes grand prize drawing” is being advertised at 9 p.m. on Oct. 12.
New owner wants to add more surrounding casinos in future
A Wind Creek spokeswoman declined a Penn Bets request to discuss the casino’s transition since acquisition and its future plans, but a lot has been taking place with more in store for the future.
Some aspects of the change-over have inconvenienced gamblers, with table games having been shut down Aug. 20 to allow for replacement of all the chips, newly marked with Wind Creek’s name instead of Sands. Some 1,000 slot machines were also shut down Aug. 26 for upgrades.
But the casino’s visitors already have more available to them than at many Pennsylvania properties, with an attached 282-room hotel, a large multi-purpose center and 150,000-square-foot outlet mall.
Wind Creek Hospitality plans to build on that, having announced plans for a $340 million expansion that is to include a 300,000-square-foot adventure and water park and two more hotels. Investors are still being sought to join in the project before plans are formalized.
Wind Creek Bethlehem also paid $10 million to the state for an iGaming license to offer slots, table games and poker online, although it has not announced when it will begin those operations.
It has not committed yet to offer a retail and online sportsbook, as its officials have said they are still analyzing the early experience of the Pennsylvania market with those. It would be unusual for the state’s second-largest casino not to enter into sports betting at some point.