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Howard Stutz

Analyst: Sands Bethlehem needs more to compete

17 July 2009

BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania –- Stifel Nicolaus gaming analyst Steven Wieczynski visited the Sands Bethlehem in Pennsylvania recently and said business has slowed considerably since the resort's crowded Memorial Day weekend opening.

The Wall Street researcher was impressed with the property's magnitude – Las Vegas Sands owns the entire Bethlehem Steel complex on the Lehigh River. However, he said it would be awhile before the full earning potential is reached.

"Only the casino has been developed and we saw little evidence of any ongoing construction," Wieczynski told investors. "The hotel and retail offerings still need significant development."

The 3,000 slot machines at the Sands Bethlehem collected between $460 and $571 in win per machine per day during Memorial Day weekend, which translated into gaming revenues of between $1.38 million and $1.71 million each day over its three opening days.

Wieczynski said Sands Bethlehem has to complete a 300 room hotel, a retail facility and a convention center if the resort is going to attract customers from the New York City area, just 90 minutes away.

"While the casino was impressive, it wasn't what we envisioned," Wieczynski said. "The slots were fresh and attractive but the casino is lacking key non-gaming amenities such as bars, restaurants, and other offerings that draw in patrons and excitement to the floor."