Las Vegas Sands Corp. reached a $1.3 billion agreement last week to sell its Bethlehem casino to Wind Creek Hospitality, a privately held affiliate of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama.
Wind Creek is a relative unknown in the casino industry. It runs three casinos in Alabama that are smaller than the Sands, and it has recently taken over a couple in the Caribbean.
It also runs a greyhound- and horse-racing track in Mobile, Ala., and track and poker rooms in Pensacola and Gretna, Fla. It also manages the Wa She Shu Casino in Gardnerville, Nev., for the Washoe Tribe.
Here's a look at the Wind Creek Casino & Hotel, a 9-year-old facility that sits on 35 acres in Atmore, Ala., and serves as the home base for Wind Creek Hospitality.
• The 160,000-square-foot hotel has 236 rooms and suites and a AAA four-diamond rating — the same designation as Sands Bethlehem's hotel.
• One side of the 17-foot tower overlooks a pond with two fountains, a pool, an outdoor amphitheater and the entrance to the property's movie theater, bowling alley and arcade.
• The property has plenty of casual-dining options, but it also has Fire Steakhouse, an upscale restaurant with tall ceilings, a colossal stone fireplace and shiny pinecomb-shaped chandeliers, where a customer gets to choose their own knife to slice their $37-to-$60 cut of beef.
•The circular casino floor, surrounded by shops and restaurants, measures 57,000 square feet and offers more than 1,600 slot machine-style, electronic-gambling machines under amber-colored lights and feather-shaped glass hanging from the ceiling.
•It looks like a mini-Sands Bethlehem, which has a 183,000-square-foot casino floor, except for one key difference: It doesn't offer table games, which are not legal in Alabama. The tribe is limited to Class II games, meaning its machines are bingo-based or have pull tab-based technology, though the practical differences between true slots and electronic machines have eroded to almost nothing.