PCI Gaming Authority d/b/a Wind Creek Hospitality (WCH), an instrumentality of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, announced that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved a transaction under which WCH will acquire the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Penn., for a total enterprise value of $1.3 billion. The closing of the transaction comes after approximately 14 months of regulatory review and other customary closing conditions.

"We are pleased with the decision of PGCB and anticipate moving quickly to close the transaction," said Jay Dorris, Wind Creek president and CEO. "I look forward to welcoming all the Sands Bethlehem employees to the Wind Creek family."

"We are thankful for the strong foundation that Las Vegas Sands provided for us over the past decade," said Sands President and COO Brian Carr. "It is exciting to now shift our focus to the future as we begin the process to rebrand the property to Wind Creek Bethlehem."                                  

"The purchase of the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem is a valuable addition to the tribe's existing gaming portfolio," said Poarch Band of Creek Indians Tribal Chair and CEO, Stephanie Bryan. "This investment will expand and complement our already extensive Wind Creek Hospitality brand's offerings, and bring added economic growth to the Lehigh Valley."

WCH anticipates an immediate effort to expand the property to include construction of a 300-room hotel adjacent to the casino.  WCH also plans to move forward with renovation of the existing No. 2 Machine Shop Bethlehem Steel site with ideas such as an adventure and water park that will include a 400 or so room hotel.