Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem Profile

Sands Casino Pennsylvania online casinos profile

Nestled along the Lehigh River at the former site of the Bethlehem Steel Company, Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, PA has been playing home to table games, poker, slots, and plenty of assorted amenities — including AAA Four Diamond-rated accommodations — aimed at keeping the whole family occupied since late May 2009.

Sands Bethlehem overview

An estimated 9 million people visit the resort each year, rivaling only Parx Casino in Bensalem as the largest and most lucrative Pennsylvania casino. The Sands’ prime locale is a big reason why. The property is:

  • 82 miles from New York City
  • 50 miles from Philadelphia
  • 6.7 miles from Lehigh Valley International Airport

Despite the geographic benefits, Sands remained a bit of an outlier for Sands Corp. The Las Vegas-based casino company tends toward opulent resorts in destination cities. It makes some degree of sense then that the property recently changed hands. Wind Creek Hospitality, which is an affiliate of the Alabama-based Poarch Band of Creek Indians, purchased the casino for a whopping $1.3 billion.

The group announced the sale in March of 2018, so it’s difficult to know what, if any, changes will be made to the existing resort in the coming months and years. Since the casino’s license was recently renewed through the Pennsylvania State Gaming Board (PGCB) for a period of five years, it’s safe to assume gambling in Bethlehem is here to stay. And with Sands Corp CEO Sheldon Adelson, perhaps the industry’s most outspoken opponent of online gambling, now out of the way, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Wind Creek take steps toward making online gambling a reality.

With player-friendly Blackjack rules and a wide variety of slots, here’s what you can expect to find during a trip to the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem:

Sands Bethlehem casino

The casino floor is off limits to anyone under 21 years of age. The gaming floor is regulated by the PGCB. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offers:

  • Over 3,000 slot machines
  • 200 table games
  • 26 poker tables
  • live stadium gaming, including $5 Blackjack every day.

Security and fairness

The PGCB plays a major role in everyday operations of the casino. This is the case with all land-based Pennsylvania casinos. There are strict regulations regarding rules, payouts, and games set forth by the PGCB which the Sands must adhere to. Also, any new game added to the casino floor must first be vetted and approved by the agency, meaning fair play should be of little concern to players.

Sands Bethlehem table games

Sands Bethlehem boasts all your old favorites like:

  • Craps
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Baccarat
  • War

Plus, the casino offers a whole host of new games, including Free Bet Blackjack, which lets you double down and split for free. There is also Blazing 7’s. Low rollers take note though — the lowest blackjack minimums at any given time are $10, and only on weekdays.

Sands Bethlehem Blackjack varieties

Blazing 7’s is a new spin on Blackjack, wherein you have the opportunity to place a $5 bet on all or part of the progressive jackpot. Once the round is dealt, your first two cards and the dealer’s up card are used to determine the outcome.

21 + 3 Xtreme is another new Blackjack-based game, wherein you place an optional bet, and then your cards and the dealer’s up card are combined to create three-card poker hands which will determine whether you win or lose. Should you win, you can walk away with anywhere from 5 to 30x your bet.

King’s Bounty is a side bet that your first two Blackjack cards will total 20. Even better, two Kings of Spades against a dealer Blackjack pays out the jackpot.

House Money is another side bet, which wins if your first two cards are either Ace-King suited, a straight flush, a pair, or a straight. And should you win, you have the option to either collect the cash or add to your original bet. Hence the House Money moniker.

Other Sands Bethlehem table games

Separate from the 26-table poker room, is Criss Cross Poker. It is a unique poker variation based loosely on Texas Hold’em. Players start by making two ante bets of equal value. The first is an Ante Across bet, while the second is an Ante Down bet. An optional five-card bonus bet is also available. Each player is then dealt two cards down, then five community cards are dealt face-down on the table in a cross pattern so that there are three in each row. Players then wager using the row and/or column in conjunction with their own two-card hand, to make two separate hands.

Other table games at Sands Bethlehem include:

  • Pai Gow
  • Texas Hold’em Bonus
  • Three Card Progressive Poker
  • Fortune Pai Gow Poker
  • Let It Ride Stud Poker
  • Caribbean Stud Poker
  • Mini/Midi Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Sic Bo
  • Big Six

Sands Bethlehem slots

Sands Bethlehem isn’t a one-slot-fits-all kind of casino.

From 1 cent to $100, you can wager as much or as little as you like at Sands Bethlehem’s 3,000 slot machines. There’s an impressive variety amongst their machines. Plus, bill acceptors make it easy to jump to a new one if you’re feeling a cold streak coming on.

Here are just a few of the available slot titles at Sands Bethlehem:

  • Ghostbusters
  • The Hangover
  • Godzilla
  • Wheel of Fortune Triple Spin Extreme
  • Powerball
  • Grease
  • Michael Jackson

The slots are considered by many players to be one of the biggest draws at the Sands, thanks in large part to the wide variety of machines.

Sands Bethlehem poker room

The 26-table poker room at the Sands offers a variety of games, including limit and no-limit Texas Hold’em, Stud, and Omaha. Limit games start at $3-$6. For no-limit games, there are $1-$2 games.

There’s no smoking allowed in the poker room, which is much appreciated. However, a major complaint about Sands is that the smell of smoke lingers throughout the casino.

There are plenty of amenities to enjoy while you play, like USB ports for each seat, 19 televisions around the room, table-side dining, complimentary beverage service, and a Bad Beat Jackpot.

Sands Bethlehem stadium gaming

If you’re looking to gamble without breaking the bank, or if you’re a beginner just looking to get your feet wet without all the pressure of a table game, the Sands’ stadium gaming setup offers stadium-style seating and plenty of flexibility.

You can play both Baccarat and Roulette with a live dealer and an electronic betting terminal. This means you can play multiple games simultaneously, while also moving at your own pace.

Players insert cash or a card into their terminal, choose the table(s) they want to play, and then place their bets just as they would at a normal table. Winnings are paid automatically to your terminal, and with plenty of the same bets going against the same dealers, don’t be surprised if you hear a loud cheer like the Eagles just won the Super Bowl (again).

Sands Bethlehem online gaming

To this point, Wind Creek has no connections to online gambling through their limited casino portfolio, so there’s some consternation as to what, exactly, Sands’ online gaming presence will be. Or if it will be anything at all.

As mentioned, Sands Corp CEO Sheldon Adelson has long held an anti-online gambling stance. Now that he and the rest of Sands Corp are stepping aside though, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the resort in Bethlehem take a few fresh steps into the future.

New Jersey derives ten percent of its casino revenue from online gaming. With that in mind, it may behoove Wind Creek to at least look into the possibility.

Sands Bethlehem amenities

Sands and the surrounding area offer potential resort-goers plenty of options for experience outside of gambling. In fact, just a few feet from the casino floor, you’ll find The Outlets at Sands Bethlehem, with shops like:

  • Chico’s Outlet
  • Coach
  • DKNY
  • Fragrance Outlet
  • Guess Factory Store
  • Kay Jewelers Outlet
  • Lenox
  • Talbots Outlet
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Under Armour Bethlehem Factory House
  • Wilson’s Leather

Restaurants and nightlife

Sands Bethlehem boasts three restaurants from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse:

  • Emeril’s Chop House
  • Emeril’s Fish House
  • Burgers and More by Emeril

You can also enjoy the cuisine of Buddy Valastro, of TLC’s Cake Boss fame at both Carlo’s Bakery and Buddy V’s Ristorante.

And of course, what casino experience would be complete without at least one trip to the buffet? Steelworks Buffet & Grill offers both buffet and a la carte options. It also serves breakfast all day.

The Sands Bethlehem Events Center has a full schedule of entertainment, from Harry Connick Jr. to Steven Tyler to Tony Bennett. And if you’re looking to squeeze in dinner before hitting a show, the resort offers a three-course pre-show menu at Emeril’s Fish House and Buddy V’s Ristorante from 5-7 p.m.

If you’re looking to let loose and shake your caboose, the Molten Lounge offers free live entertainment seven days a week, while Vision Nightclub is the dance and DJ scene. And if you’d rather get loose a different way, the Steel Magnolia Spa & Salon offers a full menu of massages, facials, and spa packages.

Sands Bethlehem very family-friendly

Kids Quest & Cyber Quest team up to offer a little relief for parents. Drop off the kiddies with the trained professionals at Kids Quest, then hit the town as the little rascals are run through:

  • Games
  • Video games
  • Physical fitness
  • Arts, and more

Plus, they even offer Tiny Tot, a room specifically designed for the care and comfort of toddlers and babies.

Cards can be purchased in advance preloaded with credits, which kids can then use to buy game credits.

Sands Bethlehem hotel accommodations

Sands Bethlehem offers AAA Four Diamond-rated accommodations, with a wide range of room options and in-room amenities.

Room options range from the Deluxe King Room to the Chairman’s Suite, which features:

  • 1,600-feet of formal living room
  • Sitting room
  • Dining area with seating for six
  • Two bathrooms
  • Four LCD HDTVs
  • Full-size sleeper sofa 

Plus, every room includes:

  • 42-inch flat screen LCD HD TV
  • Glass-enclosed shower
  • In-room safe
  • Single-cup coffee maker
  • Media hub and free wireless high-speed Internet
  • Free continental breakfast
  • In-room remote checkout

Included in every suite:

    • Double-sink vanity
    • Soaking tub
    • Separate living room and dining area
    • Queen-size sofa sleeper
    • Refrigerator
    • Separate powder room

Sands Bethlehem hotel packages

If you’re looking to get in the door with a specific play in mind, the resort also offers an array of special packages, laid out below.

STAY & GAME PACKAGE

      • Sunday-Thursday $149/night, Friday $199/night
      • $10 free slot play per person

STAY, GAME AND DINE PACKAGE

      • Sunday-Thursday $189/night, Friday $239/night
      • $10 free slot play per person
      • $50 or $100 food voucher, valid at Emeril’s Chop House, Emeril’s Fish House, Buddy V’s Ristorante, or Burgers and More by Emeril

KIDS QUEST STAY AND PLAY PACKAGE

      • Sunday-Thursday $150/night, Friday $200/night
      • One night accommodations for two at the Sands Hotel
      • $11 BOGO Kids Quest Voucher
      • $10 free slot play per person, up to two people

OUTLETS AT SANDS BETHLEHEM PACKAGE

      • Sunday-Thursday $189/night, Friday $239/night
      • $50 gift card for the Outlets at Sands Bethlehem
      • $10 free slot play per person, up to two people
      • Outlets at Sands Bethlehem coupon brochure

STEELWORKS BUFFET & GRILL PACKAGE

      • Sunday-Thursday $169/night
      • Lunch or dinner buffet for two people, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
      • $10 free slot play per person

GOLF PACKAGE

Sands Bethlehem also offers plenty of hotel amenities, including:

  • In-room dining
  • Pool access from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
  • Fitness center access from 5 a.m to 12 a.m. daily
  • 14,000 feet of event space

My Sands Club

Extras are available at the Sands via My Sands Club, a loyalty club where the money you spend becomes points you can put toward sweepstakes and special discounts. Of course, it remains to be seen what effect the recent change of ownership will have on Sands-specific offers. For the time being at least, My Sands Club is your avenue to most of the resort’s promotions, like cash giveaways and prizes.

My Sands Club allows you to earn comp dollars to use in a variety of places, including:

  • Hotel
  • Restaurants
  • Nightlife venues
  • Spa
  • Sands & Co. retail store
  • Carlo’s Bakery
  • Sands Bethlehem Event Center
  • Kids Quest
  • Cyber Quest
  • Valet parking

It also affords you free entry in almost all promotions.

Key takeaways about Sands Bethlehem

With nearly $150 million in gross terminal revenue in fiscal 2017, the Sands remains the second-largest land-based resort casino in Pennsylvania. With an impressive array of slots and plenty of other options for the kids and non-casino-goers like outlets and golf packages, Sands Bethlehem is an enjoyable experience for the whole family.

While issues such as tight slots, expensive drinks, inattentive staff, and lax enforcement of the no-smoking areas have been noted in the past as consistent problems, that’s not much different from most casinos in Pennsylvania. Plus, with Wind Creek taking over ownership, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some fairly significant changes made to the resort property.

At least at the Sands, you won’t have to travel too far from home to hit the table. And with Adelson and Sands Corp. moving on, it seems online gambling might soon offer players a new way to place bets in Pennsylvania.

Origins of Sands Bethlehem

Bethlehem was founded in 1741 on the banks of the Lehigh River as a planned community by a band of Moravian missionaries. The self-sufficient Germanic emigrants wasted no time building industry. More than three dozen trades and mills were in operation within five years.

Goods from Bethlehem were known throughout the American colonies. This heritage of manufacturing braced Bethlehem perfectly for the oncoming Industrial Revolution. When the Lehigh Canal opened in 1829, quickly followed by the Lehigh Valley Railroad, Bethlehem became a nationally known center of heavy industry. America’s zinc industry was centered here and iron companies were established by the 1850s. Into this environment was born the Bethlehem Iron Company in 1861.

By 1904 the company was known as Bethlehem Steel and was operating out of the largest industrial building in the world. That year Charles Michael Schwab took over the operation and he was to transform both the business and the old Moravian town.

By the 1980s, however, Bethlehem Steel had become a symbol of America’s manufacturing malaise. Orders increasingly went to cheaper overseas steel suppliers. In 1992 the blast furnaces went cold and by 2001 the once mighty company was no more.

In the wake of the Bethlehem Steel bankruptcy, the city was left with 1,500 acres of vacant land, miles of unused train tracks and scores of abandoned factories.

Las Vegas Sands was awarded one of the five free-standing casino licenses as provided by the 2004 Pennsylvania Horse Race Development and Gaming Act. Rather than tear down the historic Bethlehem plant the Nevada gaming company decided to incorporate its casino as much as possible into the existing infrastructure.

Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem opened in 2009. Ironically, there were construction delays impeding its arrival. There was a worldwide steel shortage at the time.

Sands Bethlehem’s poker room

When Pennsylvania legalized table games in 2010 the Sands opted to carve out space in the middle of the gaming floor for its poker “room.” While smokier and noisier than some players may prefer the poker room was so popular the number of tables was increased to 36.

As with other Sands properties, the top tournament is the Deep Stack Extravaganza that is held several times during the year and has offered as much as $500,000 in guaranteed prize money.

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