Is the Tropicana Buying the Sands Casino Bethlehem? Rumors Run Rampant

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Is the Tropicana Buying the Sands Casino Bethlehem?  Rumors Run Rampant

All of Eastern Pennsylvania is abuzz with the news that the famed Tropicana Hotel and Casino, a staple in Atlantic City, could be about to buy the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem. 

Principals from both companies have declined comment when approached by the regional paper the Morning Call.

Matt Assad and Nicole Radzievich of that paper offered up plenty of juicy speculation over the weekend:
Analysts say such a deal would give Las Vegas Sands Corp. a chance to jettison a property that doesn't fit its mega-casino model, and would allow Tropicana's owner, billionaire Carl Icahn, to continue a buying spree that included a casino in St. Louis just last week.

There is concern over what adverse effect a sale of the property would have on the city of Bethlehem.  As both reporters note, Sands Corp. is worth $60 billion whereas the Tropicana is worth less than $500 million in market capital and just got out of bankruptcy reorganization.   The biggest fear relates to cutbacks.

"I've heard the rumors like everyone else, but I've heard nothing directly from the Sands or any possible buyer," Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez said last week. "Sands has been a great corporate citizen, and [former Sands President] Bob DeSalvio was an excellent leader. They kept their promises. I would hope that whoever comes in lives up to that standard."

Donchez was told by Sands interim President Dougas Niethold that the Bethlehem property has not yet been sold after going on the market over a year ago.

The Tropicana is owned by investor Carl Icahn, who is said to be worth around $24.5 billion.  So Bethlehem may not be too bad off should the Tropicana take control.

Tropicana is beginning to make its presence known in the New Jersey online gambling market and will soon be launching an online poker platform.

- Aaron Goldstein,


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