Sands Casino - Resort is located less than 10 minutes away from Lehigh's Asa Packer Campus. Though the resort is home to outlets and hosts concerts, many Lehigh students do not travel there for entertainment purposes. Courtesy of CyberXRef/Wikimedia Commons.

Despite proximity, Sands Casino unpopular among students


Tyler Roth, ‘17, first went to the Sands Casino Resort with his parents for dinner the night before his first-year move-in day, and he has been going ever since. Whether it’s going out for a meal with friends at Burgers and More by Emeril, seeing Jay Leno perform, or playing the slot machines, Roth said he’s really enjoyed all the time he’s spent at the Sands.

The Sands is a hotel and event center located off East Third Street in South Bethlehem. The resort features a casino, an outlet shopping mall, restaurants and a spa.

“It was a really cool venue,” Roth said. “I thought it was impressive that they could bring in a big act like (Jay Leno). At the Sands, I never really knew anyone who was performing there, but recently they’re bringing in some bigger name artists.”

The Sands will also be hosting the band DNCE on Thursday, Feb. 16 — rescheduled from Saturday, Feb. 4 — which some students will be attending. In May, The 1975 is performing, and the concert is already sold out.

Danielle Joy, ‘17, works at the Coach outlet store at the Sands. She said the outlets are a great option for college students in particular because they’re cheaper than their full-price counterparts.

Despite its proximity to Lehigh and all the Sands has to offer, not many students make the trip there.

“I don’t think people really know the Sands is more than just the casino,” Joy said. “It’s an untapped source for Lehigh students.”

Joy said she occasionally sees students at the Sands, but more often they are international students.

Even though the Sands is only 1.5 miles from Lehigh’s campus, it’s approximately a 30-minute walk for students who don’t have access to a car. While not impossible, Joy walked to the Sands from M&M when she was a freshman and said the walk wasn’t exactly convenient.

Adrienne Washington, the assistant vice president of community and regional affairs at Lehigh, said the university has no formal relationship with the Sands.

However, both institutions have a strong community presence and often end up working together in those initiatives. For example, Lehigh is the lead partner for Broughal Middle School and Donegan Elementary School, and the Sands is the corporate partner at Donegan. 

Lehigh students aren’t the Sands primary clientele, Roth said. Students have to be 21 to gamble, and if someone is under 21, they have to be escorted around the outer edges of the casino to get to the restaurants. 

Roth also said the casino is expensive. It’s $10-$15 per hand at the tables, so he really only plays the slot machines. Some of his friends have brought $300 for a night of gambling, but not everyone has that luxury.

“I don’t think it’s that Lehigh students wouldn’t go,” Roth said, “it’s just more of how would they get there and what they would do while they’re there.”

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