Spanish Eurovegas Project To Help Ailing EconomyMarch 20, 2012 1:47 pm
Since 2008, Spain has been in the grip of one of its worst financial crisis characterised by zero growth and a 22% unemployment rate, the highest in the whole EU.
However, as far as US casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is concerned the country would be a perfect location to house a €16 billion ($21 billion) gambling resort capable of becoming the Las Vegas of Europe. Unfazed by the euro-zone turmoil, the Las Vegas Sands (LSV) CEO with a $24.9 billion fortune, explains:
“It will take us four to five years. By then everything will be solved.”
Sheldon believes Spain is ideally placed in terms of weather and location for the projest, being as it is just a five-hour flight from one billion people living in 50 nearby countries. Furthermore, the 78 year-old is confident 260,000 indirect and direct jobs will be created, thus assuring him the support of the Spanish government.
An additional sweetener for the Spanish government is that the world’s 4th most popular holiday destination with 57 million annual visitors, could see 11 million more annual tourists spending an extra €15.5 billion over 15 years.
So far, either Madrid or Barcelona are emerging as front runners for the development, which envisages 12 hotel strips, six casinos, three golf courses and several convention centres. However, Sheldon Adelson’s plan already faces resistance from opposition groups, not least “Eurovegas No,” with organizer Ana Sanz explaining:
“The numbers which they are selling us are not real. This is a repeat of a growth model based on excessive construction. It is not a source of sustainable jobs. We are going to become a nation of waiters and prostitutes.”
In the meantime, Las Vegas Sands is expected to announce in June or July whether the project dubbed “Eurovegas” will go ahead. Factors currently being discussed include legal and financial incentives, as well as a relaxation of Spain’s smoking ban in force since January 2011.