Once the restrictions involving the coronavirus are eased, casinos across the United States will be back in action. However, despite an ease in restrictions, there will still be changes at the gaming venues, such as social distancing, sanitizing, capacity limitations and even masks. For the Wind Creek Bethlehem Casino, the operator would like to begin their reopening phase with a retail sportsbook. The operator is the only venue in the state without a retail sports betting option, aside from the Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin.
Sports Betting Potential
Wind Creek is in an ideal location when it comes to bringing in gamblers. The venue pulls in traffic from Metro Manhattan as well as other areas nearby. Earlier this year, the brand signed a deal with Scientific Games Corporation as well as Betfred to open an in-house sportsbook. However, since that time, there has been no movement in getting services started.
However, now, the company sent a filing to regulators to get the process going again. When the operator will be given approval is anyone’s guess. The review process of the filing does not have a date at this time. The Gaming Control Board must review the filing before Wind Creek can move forward.
Wind Creek was already planning on getting started by late summer, but the coronavirus disrupted the process. In the five-page petition, the operator has provided financial projections for the sportsbook along with plans to hire employees a well as a projected opening.
The document did not seek approval for online operations. If Wind Creek were to seek approval for online sports betting, it would mark the 10th option in the state.
At the same time as the plans for sports betting are moving forward, the casino is also looking towards reopening. A reservation system is currently in the works that will limit access to patrons as the facility begins reopening.
Patrons will need an invite to be able to attend the Wind Creek soft open and precautions are being made by the operator to ensure that the crowd is limited. Overall, the goal is to reopen and provide a safe environment for players as well as guests.
The Wind Creek Bethlehem has been closed since March 15th. They actually shut down before the state ordered non-essential businesses to do so. The nearly 2,500 employees are being paid by the operator and they are also receiving benefits through May. The operator also paid host fees of $2.5 million to Allentown and Bethlehem even though the state allowed a deferral of those payments.
It will be interesting to see if Wind Creek is approved for sports betting and if they can get the facility ready in time for their soft opening, whenever that is planned for. The board still has to review the petition and it is unclear as to when that will happen. It is expected it should occur in the coming weeks.