On May 29, 2019, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved a Change of Control petition for the sale of Sands Bethlehem Casino Resort. Two days later, on May 31, 2019, Wind Creek Hospitality officially acquired the casino from Las Vegas Sands Corporation for $1.3 billion, as the transaction closed on Friday. The casino resort facility, which is located in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, will operate as Wind Creek Bethlehem, and will include amenities such as a 282-room AAA Four Diamond hotel, a 183,000 square foot casino floor featuring slots, table games, and electronic table games, numerous food and beverage outlets, a retail mail, and a multi-purpose event center.
The closing of the transaction comes after approximately fourteen months of regulatory review and, most recently, the PGCB’s approval of the transaction. Duane Morris represented Las Vegas Sands in the transaction, providing gaming regulatory and real estate guidance and assistance in other areas, including serving as co-counsel before the Board for Wind Creek Hospitality. Duane Morris attorneys who assisted on this matter include J. Scott Kramer, Greg Duffy, Frank DiGiacomo, Chris Soriano, and Adam Berger.
On May 29, 2019, at a special hearing convened for this purpose, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved a Change of Control Petition authorizing the transfer of the entirety of Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s interest in Sands Bethworks Gaming LLC’s to Wind Creek Hospitality, an instrumentality of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The Board’s Order, beyond approving the change in control, allows the casino facility to change its name to Wind Creek Bethlehem, reflecting the casino’s new ownership.
Subject to the Board’s conditions, Wind Creek Hospitality is able to acquire all of the interest in Sands, including its licenses, which include a Category 2 License, a Table Games Certificate, and Interactive Gaming Certificates. The Board’s decision comes after over a year of regulatory review.
Scott Kramer, Duane Morris, appeared for joint petitioner, Sands Bethworks Gaming LLC. Also, Duane Morris served as co-counsel before the Board for Wind Creek Hospitality.
Duane Morris partner Chris Soriano was a guest on the Good Law | Bad Law podcast, “Game on! After a historic Supreme Court decision, sports betting is a go.”
Chris joined podcast host, Aaron Freiwald, to discuss the recent Supreme Court decision that in effect legalized sports betting across the country and the implications this decision may have for the future of gambling, as well as professional sports. Chris also talks about how his interest in the gaming area introduced him to gaming law.
Listen to Chris’ segment on the Good Law | Bad Law podcast.
Duane Morris partner Christopher Soriano of the Cherry Hill office appeared on a recent broadcast of the ESPN In the Gate podcast, speaking about the future of horse race wagering. Mr. Soriano’s segment starts at about the 15 minute mark.
Duane Morris, the Sports Business and Leadership Association and the Sports Lawyers Association will be hosting the roundtable discussion, “High-Stakes Games: Betting on Sports,” on Thursday, January 26, 2017 in Miami, Florida. This in-depth roundtable discussion will focus on the key issues and high stakes of sports betting and will feature sports and gaming industry executives, lawyers and pro-team executives. Duane Morris partner Christopher L. Soriano, of the firm’s Cherry Hill office, will moderate the discussion.
- Eric Frank, Director, Legal Affairs, Amaya
- Myles Pistorius, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Miami Dolphins
Topics to be discussed include:
- The current state of sports betting in the United States
- New developments in gaming law
- The pro team’s view on expanding sports betting
- Online and offshore wagering on games
Duane Morris Sports Practice AdvantageSM
Duane Morris attorneys have extensive experience representing clients doing business in sports. Whether pursuing new opportunities or investments, enforcing contracts or agreements or protecting clients’ rights, the firm’s lawyers understand the unique issues presented by operating in the industry, including the importance of establishing and maintaining relationships, controlling sensitive information, maintaining privacy and confidentiality and achieving goals in tight time frames.
About the Sports Business and Leadership Association
The Sports Business and Leadership Association (“SBLA”) is a non-profit charitable organization whose members are professionals working in the sports business industry. The SBLA’s core mission is to organize an affinity group of legal professionals working in the sports business industry and to educate them on trending sports business issues and concerns. The SBLA’s goal is to raise money to provide underprivileged children with the financial means to attend a summer sports camp at a university (the “SBLA Scholarship Program”).
About the Sports Lawyers Association
The Sports Lawyers Association (SLA) is a nonprofit, international, professional organization whose common goal is the understanding, advancement and ethical practice of sports law. There are more than 1,000 current members: practicing lawyers, law educators, law students and other professionals with an interest in law relating to professional and amateur sports.
Duane Morris attorneys Christopher Soriano and Adam Berger of the firm’s Cherry Hill office will present a webinar, “2016: A Year to Hold’em or Fold’em,” hosted by the NJ State Bar on December 9, 2016. The webinar will offer retrospective on this year’s key legal issues in the gaming industry.
Topics to be discussed include:
- The recent decision shooting down sports betting in casinos
- Impact of the North Jersey gaming referendum on the future of the racing industry and on the Atlantic City casino market
- Online gaming developments
- Fantasy sports legislation/regulation
- Issues surrounding the potential closing of Monmouth Racetrack
To register for the webinar, please visit the NJSBA website.
Duane Morris special counsel Chris Soriano of the firm’s Cherry Hill office wrote “California, Regulated I-Gaming and the Tribal Question,” which was published in the March 2014 issue of World Online Gambling Law Report.
The California Legislature is currently considering two bills – AB2291 and SB1366 – to legalise online poker in the state. California Senator Lou Correa and Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer Sr., introduced legislation that would authorise online poker in the state and permit Indian tribes with gambling rights to obtain licences. Mr. Soriano sheds light on the situation in California and discusses the credentials of both bills.
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