Sands Casino Should Take Host Fee Pledge Amidst DA Threats

Written by:
Published on:

The Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania should pledge to pay a host fee to local communities, writes Bill White in a scathing critique.

White’s piece comes just days after Northampton County District Attorney, John Morganelli warned that it may decide not to go after those individuals alleged to be stealing from the establishment unless Sands honors a $10 million agreement with local government officials. 

"I would not in good conscience be able to justify the use of my limited resources to help a profitable billion-dollar corporation while the Sands maintains the position they are an island unto themselves," Morganelli said in a news release issued this week.

For its part, Sands officials have said they will wait on the state legislature to come up with a temporary fix to protect the host communities from a 2017 budget.  Five other casinos in the state, however, have already made the pledge ahead of any legislative considerations.

"We're not going to speculate on any future outcome by the Legislature, " said Ron Reese, spokesman for Las Vegas Sands Corp. "As it unfolds, we'll follow and act accordingly."

Years ago, White points out, Sands Bethlehem signed a nonbinding pledge to the community.

He reminisced:

Back when Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez was a city councilman, he provided the deciding vote against a plan to prohibit gambling in the zoning districts that covered the former Bethlehem Steel plant.

It was a difficult decision that paved the way for the Sands Casino Resort, and Donchez said then and still says today that he was swayed by the Sands' willingness to put its commitments to the former Bethlehem Steel site and the community into writing through what he called a "Memorandum of Good Faith."

Under the leadership of President Robert DeSalvio, the Bethlehem Sands lived up to that nonbinding pledge to the community, in spirit and substance. I remember attending a Morning Call-sponsored forum on gambling several years ago and seeing it turn into a love feast for the Sands and particularly for DeSalvio for being such good neighbors.

Those days appear to be over, according to White, who understands it is possible the state Legislature could solve the current problem and, should that happen, “we'll never find out if Morganelli would follow through with his threat or if the Sands would shake off its stance of corporate indifference and pay the fee anyway.”

But whatever happens, I fear we're seeing the evolution of a business in which the shots are being called by Vegas bean-counters instead of strong, committed local leadership that recognizes the advantages of a cooperative relationship with neighbors who share in its prosperity.

The Sands that wrote that Memorandum of Good Faith wouldn't have hesitated to pledge it would meet its obligations.

- Aaron Goldstein,

Business/Financial News

Sports Betting Software Idaho, Montana, Wyoming

Can I Start an Online Sportsbook From Idaho? is a terrific Pay Per Head company that offers a comprehensive sports betting platform for bookies and agents who happen to reside in the beautiful state of Idaho.

Sportsbook Software in Florida: How to Start a Bookie Website

Pay Per Head software will be in high demand in the state of Florida courtesy of nonstop success state teams are having.   The Miami Hurricanes find themselves in the Final Four as do this year's Cinderella team, the FAU Owls.  And college football is just around the corner.