Potential MGM/Sands deal makes sense for both parties, analysts say

Casino host city fee fallout in Northampton County

 

The bombshell news that MGM Resorts International is reportedly in talks with Las Vegas Sands Corporation to purchase its Bethlehem casino sent ripples across the Lehigh Valley and the entire gaming industry last week.

Analysts tell WFMZ that the potential deal makes sense for both parties, and fits the current business models of MGM and the Sands.

"I also have confirmed through my sources that MGM is talking to them...it makes a lot of sense", says Roger Gros, the publisher of Global Gaming Business Magazine.

He notes that MGM is trying to capture the East Coast market, and points out that if the deal takes place, the company would own the most successful casinos in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Additionally, MGM is building a casino in Springfield, Massachusetts with a reported price tag of $950 million, further reflecting the company's regional approach.

Meanwhile, Sands' corporate strategy is to focus more on international markets, said Gros.

"They have plans to enter Japan and maybe Vietnam with a large casino," he said.

While Sands Bethlehem is the most profitable casino in Pennsylvania, Gros said its relative size makes it "basically…more trouble than it's worth" for Sands. He said if they can get more than a billion dollars for it, as has reportedly been discussed, it is in their interest to sell it.

Casino expert Alan Silver, an assistant professor at Ohio University who also worked as an executive in the industry, gives WFMZ a similar assessment. He described the Sands' casinos in Singapore and Macao as "goldmines" that better reflect the company's strategy moving forward.

Those casinos have high-end baccarat tables and VIP rooms in which players sometimes bet up to a million dollars a hand, Silver said.

Neither Gros nor Silver see the recent unionization of security guards at Sands Bethlehem, a first for any workers in the Sands empire, as a factor in a potential deal to sell the property.

While Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, is well known to be hostile to unions, both experts tell WFMZ the guard unionization would likely be seen as a minor irritation to the mogul and not enough of a problem to take such a drastic step as selling the casino.

Gros does believe, however, that Adelson's long-term concern about online gaming in Pennsylvania could possibly factor more into his thinking.

Gros said Adelson is "deadly opposed to that" and could see it as a bigger threat to his success down the road.

The potential legalization of online gambling in Pennsylvania is expected to be taken up by lawmakers in Harrisburg this year.

As for how a potential MGM/Sands deal could affect residents of the Lehigh Valley, both Gros and Silver see the acquisition as a positive.

Silver called MGM "first rate and first class", and said the company has a long history of giving back to the communities it operates in.

In addition, he believes, "they'll feel a commitment to abide by any deals" between the Sands and Bethlehem that are already in place.

Sands employees were notified in an email last week that there is a potential buyer of the casino, but an anonymous source who has worked at Sands Bethlehem since the casino opened told WFMZ that the company has not confirmed to employees that MGM is indeed the interested party.

He added that the mood of the workers he has spoken to is generally positive since the news broke last week.

Neither Sands nor MGM have publicly confirmed the negotiations.

Shop Talk

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If you know of local business openings or closings, please notify us here.

· Hop Daddy’s Brewing Co. will open its its new brewery, restaurant and beer garden in downtown Allentown on Nov. 15.

.Kabab and Chutney, an Indian restaurant, recently opened on 3812 Easton-Nazareth HWY Easton. The hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Sunday (closed on Tuesday).

Jersey Mike's Subs will open in Allentown on November 6. A grand opening and and free sub fundraiser will be held from Wednesday, November 6 to Sunday, November 10 to support the Salvation Army.

.Outside the Box Sneaker Boutique opens this Halloween in the lower level of Main Street Commons, 559 Main Street, Bethlehem. The grand opening is on October 31 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

.LVHN opens ExpressCARE in Palmerton on Oct. 29.

· Bath & Body Works is scheduled to open at the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley on October 26.

· A Frutta Bowls franchise will open on the ArtsWalk in downtown Allentown in mid-December 2019.

· Toys R Awesome, a new retro store in the Village West Shopping Center, has opened on 3022 West Tilghman Street.

· The Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corp.  will welcome Panther Creek Pharmacy in Nesquehoning to Carbon County. The Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Celebration will take place on Friday, Oct. 25 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the pharmacy at 74 W. Catawissa Street.

· ShopRite will open a full-service supermarket on Friday, Nov. 1, with a 10 a.m. ribbon cutting at the ShopRite of Stroudsburg in the Stroud Mall. 

· Foundational Health, a holistic wellness center, opened in Bethlehem at 1403 Center Street.  Foundational Health offers personalized nutritional coaching, weight loss plans, group coaching, infrared sauna with halo-therapy (salt therapy) and chromotherapy (color therapy).

· Taco Bell to open at site of former Wind Gap Professional Center off Route 33 in Plainfield Township.

· Dr. Joseph Patruno named chief wellness officer of Lehigh Valley Health Network, to address and promote the well-being of healthcare professionals and caregivers at LVHN.

· Big Lots will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 12. It will celebrate the grand opening of five newly remodeled stores throughout the Allentown area.

· The Peppermint Stick Candy Store of Boyertown is opening a second location in the High Street Terminal on 300 E. High Street in Pottstown. The grand opening is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 11.

· Madona Antiques Gallery will open in about a month at 283 Fifth Street in Whitehall Township. It will sell antique English, French and American furniture and lighting.

· Mealey's Furniture going out of business and closing all stores

· Green Earth Marketplace to celebrate renovations and new ownership with a ribbon-cutting event on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 9:45 a.m. at 1328 Chestnut Street in Emmaus

· Lehigh Fine Foods to hold grand opening celebration Saturday, Oct. 5 from 12-2 p.m. at 1301 Chestnut Street in Emmaus

· Grand View Health announces 5-year, $210M expansion plan. The most significant investment is the construction of a 5-floor expansion next to the Sellersville hospital, which will include a new emergency department and more.

· Roosevelt's 21st in Bethlehem to close on September 28

· 1847 Financial Lehigh Valley is hosting an Open House Celebration in recognition of the grand opening of their new space in Allentown. The event will take place on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. at 1550 Pond Road Suite 140 in Allentown.

· CBRE has arranged a lease for Venture X, a workspace community for entrepreneurs and businesses, at Gateway at Greenway Park in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This will be Venture X’s first location in Pennsylvania. 

· A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for You've Got Maids and The Gathering Place at 351 W. Broad Street in Quakertown on Sept. 26 at noon.

· Fischer's Tuxedo is celebrating 100 years in Quakertown. A ribbon-cutting on their next 100 years is set for Tuesday, Sept. 17 at noon.

· Multisport Fitness will host a grand opening celebration on Sept. 26 from 5-8 p.m. at the gym, located at 2016 South Delaware Drive in Upper Mount Bethel.

· The Vibe: Connect and Thrive fitness studio had a grand opening Sunday, Sept. 8 at 202 S. 3rd Street, Suite C, in Hamburg. 

· Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley has relocated to 2132 South 12th Street, Suite 401, in Allentown.

· LVHN ExpressCare to open in Lehighton on Sept. 3. The urgent care facility at 363 North First Street will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

· Dog grooming service to open along North Sixth Street in Allentown

· NY Gyro opened their second location at 129 E. Third Street in Bethlehem.

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