Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians Adds $1.3B Property to Gaming Operations

“Cooper Levenson P.A. is legal counsel to Wind Creek Hospitality in connection with the transaction.”
This release originally appeared on https://windcreekhospitality.com/media-room/full-story/06-01-sands-bethlehem-full-story

ATMORE, Ala., June 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — PCI Gaming Authority D/B/A Wind Creek Hospitality (WCH), an authority of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, has finalized the purchase of the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for a total enterprise value of $1.3 billion. The property will be rebranded as Wind Creek Bethlehem (WCB).

WCB will welcome guests to the upscale, Las Vegas-style resort, located in the heart of the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, approximately 80 miles from New York City. Amenities currently include a 282-room AAA four diamond hotel, a 183,000 square foot casino floor featuring 3,000 slots and electronic table games, 200 table games, numerous food and beverage outlets, a 150,000 square foot retail mall, and a multi-purpose event center.

Over time, WCH plans to invest an estimated $340 million in updating and expanding the property to include construction of a 300-room hotel adjacent to the casino; a 300,000 square foot adventure and water park at the existing No. 2 Machine Shop Bethlehem Steel site; and a 400-to-450-room hotel adjacent to the adventure park. All expected to bring additional jobs, tourism and economic growth to Lehigh Valley.

WCH President/CEO, James Dorris commented “One of the things that drew us to this property is the quality and experience of the service-minded employees. Each of the nine executives has accepted a multi-year contract with us and we hope that all team members want to continue their work here as part of the Wind Creek family. We will need them as we grow the offerings at Wind Creek Bethlehem.”

The purchase of its largest property to date provides a significant opportunity for WCH to diversify its holdings as well and to offer the Wind Creek Rewards program and online WindCreekCasino.com to millions of new customers. Travel perks offered by the Wind Creek Rewards program to some of the most alluring resorts in the Caribbean: Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino and Renaissance Curacao Resort and Casino, both owned by WCH, are expected to be particularly appealing escapes for WCB customers during the cold winter months

Wind Creek Hospitality funded the acquisition with a combination of existing cash on its balance sheet and new debt financing. Credit Suisse has provided financing for the transaction. Wind Creek Hospitality anticipates that the additional cash flow resulting from the acquisition will allow it to pay down debt on an accelerated basis after closing. Innovation Capital, LLC is exclusive financial advisor and Cooper Levenson P.A. is legal counsel to Wind Creek Hospitality in connection with the transaction.

About Wind Creek Hospitality? – Wind Creek Hospitality is an authority of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Wind Creek Hospitality manages the Tribe’s gaming facilities including: Wind Creek Atmore, Wind Creek Wetumpka, Wind Creek Montgomery, Wa She Shu Casino in Nevada, Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino as well as racetracks in Alabama and Florida. For more information, visit: https://windcreekhospitality.com/.

About the Poarch Band of Creek Indians? – The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized Indian Tribe in the state of Alabama, operating as a sovereign nation with its own system of government and bylaws. The Tribe operates a variety of economic enterprises, which employ thousands of area residents. For more information, visit: www.pci-nsn.gov.

https://windcreekhospitality.com/media-room/full-story/06-01-sands-bethlehem-full-story

 

 

New Jersey – “Bettor” Than Ever: #SportsBetting

By Lynne Levin Kaufman, Esquire

For those of you who have been asleep for the past 24 hours, yesterday the Supreme Court declared the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) unconstitutional and gave states the ability to decide whether or not to legalize sports wagering, and to craft, through legislation and regulation, a sports betting framework in their state.

Those of us that were not asleep declared yesterday a day to celebrate a great victory for the State of New Jersey and for the entire gaming industry. Tourism, jobs, tax revenue,  and new entertainment are just a few reasons why. It was of course, a day for much speculation about the impact of sports wagering, including the question, which state will be up and running soon?

Yes, legislation has been passed in Connecticut, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia in anticipation of the ruling. Yes,  although New Jersey started and won the battle against PASPA, its sports betting legislation has not been enacted yet.

However, don’t place your bets against New Jersey coming out in front. New Jersey has fought for many years to overturn PASPA, against powerful and formidable opponents, and it is not going to take any time for a victory lap until sports wagering is legalized and operating in New Jersey. Although a few other states may be a bit ahead in the legislative process, we believe that gap will quickly close. Why?

Legislation had already been proposed in the Assembly, and within a few hours after the Supreme Court decision was released, the Senate introduced its own legislation. All proposals tie legalized sports wagering to the landbased casino and racetrack industries, and have a  lower tax rate than that proposed in some neighboring jurisdictions, making it more welcoming for operators to enter the New Jersey market. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has also been preparing for years, and will be ready with regulations to support any legislation.

Furthermore, in addition to the fact that we anticipate the legislative and regulatory process to move quickly,  New Jersey is one of only three states in the country with operating regulated internet gaming (with the other two being Nevada and Delaware). Thus, New Jersey has technical and practical experience from its successful launch of internet gaming that can be applied to internet sports wagering. This experience ranges from software product approvals to successful geolocation and age and identity verification measures, to name  just a few critical areas. States without live regulated internet gaming  do not have this technical or practical experience. Of course, as the second state in the nation to legalize casino gaming, there is the well  established and respected landbased casino infrastructure in place as well. Last, and not at all the least – in fact maybe even likely to come in as first to operate – are the New Jersey racetracks, which have been prepared to offer sports wagering for years.

So stay tuned. We will continue to report. And here goes the lawyer disclaimer: Don’t really make that bet for or against any state going to market first. The decision yesterday did not legalize that activity!

All materials are for informational purposes only and do not contain legal advice, legal opinions or any other form of advice regarding any specific facts or circumstances.

U.S. Supreme Court Allows States to Legalize Sports Betting

by Lynne Levin Kaufman, Esquire
@iGamingLawyer

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – May 14, 2018  – By now, most of you have heard that the U.S. Supreme Court  today held that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the more than 25 year old federal law that prohibited full blown sports betting in all states but Nevada, is an unconstitutional restriction on state sovereignty. The elimination of PASPA means that states can pass laws establishing regulated sports betting. But what does that mean for the gaming industry and for those of us who are anxious to place a legal bet in our state?

It means that the states that have already acted to pass legislation, or have bills pending in the legislature, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, are preparing to roll out sports betting as soon as possible. It means that an opportunity has been created for businesses that operated outside of the U.S. to now locate themselves in the U.S., creating employment and other business opportunities. It means that much less revenue will be lost to the $150 billion illegal sports betting industry. It means tax revenue will be gained by states that legalize sports betting. It means that people who couldn’t travel to Nevada for the Super Bowl or March Madness, as two examples, can enjoy an entertainment experience at the casino or racetrack in their regulated sports betting state. It means that sports betting will be required to be conducted with integrity, transparency, and supervision.

Yes, there is a lot to work out.  The average sports book realizes about a 5% profit, and integrity fees to the leagues, licensing fees, and technical requirements could deter industry growth. Then there are questions regarding internet wagering, server placement, and the Wire Act.  But on this day, let’s put those thoughts aside and celebrate a monumental victory for the gaming industry.  #SportsBetting

 

 

 

SKIN IS IN THE (#iGaming) GAME

by: Lynne Levin Kaufman

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (“PGCB”) published temporary regulations finally answering the question –

“Can a Pennsylvania casino which applies for an Interactive Gaming Certificate host multiple Skins”

What is the answer? Yes

So what does that actually mean? It means that a casino obtaining an Interactive Gaming Certificate can enter into arrangements with numerous platform providers to offer different branded products. So when a customer logs into a casino’s interactive gaming website, it can choose from a variety of offerings. Plainly speaking it also means that the Pennsylvania casino can enter into an arrangement with a casino in another State and host that casino’s brand offering products on its website. This is being done in New Jersey where the Sugarhouse Casino has a website associated with Golden Nugget. Of course all entities will be required to apply for the appropriate licensure.

Although this result may sound logical, it was not without significant controversy. In fact, the “Skins issue” pitted casinos against each other and against platform providers.

This decision on Skins is a positive one for platform providers who had previously been on the fence about committing the financial and personnel resources to the interactive gaming market in Pennsylvania, especially considering the high tax rate on slot machine type interactive games.

Of course, there are technicalities such as clear identification that the websites are associated with the casino. However, this temporary regulation opens the door for showing some Skin and letting the (interactive) games begin. We will keep you posted.