ADELSON EXPANSION IN PENNSYLVANIA LINKED TO ONLINE GAMBLING
$40 million improvements to Sands Bethlehem conditional on the state not legalizing online gambling.
It appears that Sheldon Adelsons ongoing fight against legalized online gambling in the United States even extends to his company land casino expansion plans, according to reports in the Morning Call newspaper.
The publication reports that Adelsons Bethlehem Sands casino is the only one of twelve casinos in Pennsylvania that is opposed to the intrastate legalization of online gambling…and it has made the issue a condition for its investment of $40 million for improvements to the property…that apparently wont take place if Pennsylvania legalizes online gambling, a process that is already well advanced in the state Legislature .
Adelson has also reportedly made the improvements contingent on the North Jersey land casino referendum that will be decided in November.
The Morning Call quotes a statement by Bethlehem Sands CEO Mark Juliano in June this year, when he said of the online gambling legalization drive in Pennsylvania:
"…we’re certainly not going to continue to make a commitment to reinvest if they follow through with this.”
However, Juliano subsequently confused the issue by making what appears to be a contradictory statement, saying that whilst Las Vegas Sands is fundamentally opposed to online gambling, legalization would not necessarily mean the end of Sands investment in Pennsylvania.
“But would it keep us from investing? Probably not,” he said.
Nevertheless, using a major $40 million investment as leverage against state lawmakers, particularly from the perspective of potential jobs creation, could influence some legislators, comments industry writer Steve Ruddock in an article published by PA Online Casinos.
"Beyond moral opposition, there are very few legitimate reasons for lawmakers to oppose online gambling legalization, but a loss of capital investment that would bring jobs to the area is one," he observes.