MADRID (Agencies) As we reported recently, the company owned by billionaire magnate Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas Sands, has chosen Madrid as its site for expansion into Europe. The battle between Spain's two major cities, was won by the nation's capital instead of Barcelona, which announced recently that it planned its own 'theme park'. Both cities vied for the gambling centre on the assumption that it would employ some 200,000 people, directly and indirectly, particularly during the construction stages. Las Vegas Sands says it means an investment of some €17,000 million. SOON YOU WILL BE UNABLE TO READ THE REST OF ITEMS SUCH AS THIS WITHOUT A SUBSCRIPTION>>>
It was known that Adelson had made a number of demands regarding concessions on taxes, labour and immigration, as well as environmental laws, though no information has been released about these. However, both cities were in touch with the central government about these, as well as willing to make concessions regarding their own jurisdiction. Concessions were also being sought on national gambling taxes, an important aspect of the project.
Figures released at various times by Eurovegas said that it expected to attract some 11 million tourists in 15 years, who would spend in the region of €15.5 billion.
In principle, the development would house 12 holiday resorts, with 3,000 hotel rooms each. Each resort would cost between €2,500m and €3,000m to build.
The bulk of the clientele, according to the company, would come from Europe and countries of the former Soviet block. Inuguration has been scheduled for 2016 and absolute completion by 2022.
There is considerable opposition to the project. Among these are environmentalists who allege that piollution in Madrid would increase beyond its already unsustainable levels. Unions say that land speculation is likely to be horrendous, putting up prices for those wanting to purchase a home in what until now has been a working class area, almost a dormitory town for the city of Madrid. Unions also warn about the labour law concessions that are to be given.
In general, though, there is a significant concern about the kind of crime developments such as this might attract. There is talk of the Mafia, of Russian and Ukranian gangs, and others, which, say the internet forums, deal largely in drugs and prostitution. They point to Las Vegas itself as an example.
On one of his visits to the cities in contention, Adelson said his intention is to build the equivalent of half the Las Vegas Strip. which he was not able to do in his other major complex in Macao.