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Public hearing set on license renewal for Wind Creek Bethlehem

Wind Creek
Donna S. Fisher
For LehighValleyNews.com
Wind Creek Bethlehem has operated in the Lehigh Valley since 2019, when Wind Creek closed on the purchase of the former Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — A public hearing will be held later this month on the renewal of Wind Creek Bethlehem’s gaming license.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) will take public comment and conduct the hearing at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 27.

It will be held in the town hall rotunda building at Bethlehem City Hall, 10 E. Church St.

A casino has operated in Bethlehem since Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem opened in May 2009. Las Vegas Sands sold the property in 2019 to Wind Creek Hospitality.

The license renewal is good for five years and this will be the first for Bethlehem since 2018, said Gaming Control Board spokesman Doug Harbach. The renewal process statewide was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and four renewal hearings are being held across the state this year, he said.

Residents, public officials and community groups can speak at the June 27 hearing or submit written testimony, according to the PGCB.

Wind Creek Bethlehem is one of 17 Pennsylvania casinos and five so-called Category 2 casinos. The license will apply to several forms of gaming. Wind Creek’s license technically is for slot machines, Harbach said, but under that license the property owner also has obtained certificates to offer table games, sports wagering, online casino-type games and online sports wagering.

To provide in-person or written testimony, visit the PGCB’s website, gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov, and choose the link on the homepage in the “PGCB Meetings” section to register. The deadline for registration to speak or submit written testimony is noon Tuesday, June 25.

A casino has operated in Bethlehem since Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem opened in May 2009. Las Vegas Sands sold the property in 2019 to Wind Creek Hospitality.

A list of all government officials, community groups and individuals who have registered to speak will be posted on the website the week before the hearing, and updated daily, according to the PGCB.

Written comments can also be submitted through the board’s website. For those who wish to do so by email, fax or mail, they can be submitted as outlined:

  • Email: boardclerk@pa.gov
  • Fax: 717-265-7416
  • Mail: PA Gaming Control Board, 303 Walnut St., 5th Floor Commonwealth Tower, Harrisburg, Pa. 17101 (Attention: Board clerk)

The Bethlehem hearing is the first step in the renewal process for Wind Creek.

A second public hearing will be held in Harrisburg at a later date, Harbach said. At that hearing, casino representatives can offer evidence and arguments, and the Gaming Control Board can ask additional questions.

Said the PGCB in a notice about the hearing: “During the hearing, the renewal applicant will be given the opportunity to demonstrate, among other things, its good character, honesty and integrity; compliance with its statement of conditions; as well as provide evidence on tax revenue generated; jobs created; success in implementing its diversity plan; and involvement in the surrounding communities."

Questions can be directed to the PGCB’s Office of Hearings and Appeals at 717-265-7451, according to the notice.