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Analyst supports sale of Sands casino in Pennsylvania

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Howard Stutz, LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

The possible sale of Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s casino in Pennsylvania was supported by one gaming analyst Thursday as a positive step for the casino operator.

Bloomberg News Service, citing sources “with knowledge of the situation,” reported Las Vegas Sands is shopping the Sands Bethlehem Casino for at least $1 billion.

The casino, built on the site of the closed Bethlehem Steel Mill, is the state’s second-largest gaming revenue producer with $438 million in 2012, according to gaming regulators.

However, Bloomberg reported a deal is far from being finalized.

KDP Investment Advisor gaming analyst Barbara Cappaert told the firm’s clients a sale made sense for Las Vegas Sands.

The casino provides the least amount of cash flow and revenues for the company. Las Vegas Sands collects almost 80 percent of its cash flow and revenues from its properties in Macau and Singapore.

“We do not dismiss the possibility,” Cappaert said of a Sands Bethlehem sale. “The price, if in fact is $1 billion, is aggressive.”

Cappaert suggested Las Vegas Sands might be looking for additional funding to pursue a $4 billion to $5 billion casino development in either Toronto, Spain or Japan.

Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese said Thursday the company doesn’t respond to rumors. He said the company was “proud” of the financial results produced by the casino and the facility role as a “community partner.”

Sands Bethlehem opened in 2009 and includes a 300-room hotel, a shopping mall and an entertainment venue.

Shares of Las Vegas Sands closed at $51.88 Thursday, up 4 cents, or 0.08 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.