Euro Vegas

You know what they say ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’. Well, not if it’s up to Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands. The 78-year-old billionaire and casino tycoon is planning to export a bit of Vegas to Spain.

Actually, quite a bit. The complete  project -dubbed Euro Vegas- should finally contain 12 hotels, 6 casinos, 9 theaters and 3 golf courses. Total estimated costs: 21 Billion dollars. The construction is planned in three phases, spread over 9 years. Each of the phases would see 4 resorts and 2 casinos being built, with each resort costing between €1.9 and €2.9 billion.

The total complex will create around 164,000 direct jobs and 97,000 indirect ones. This seems almost too good to be true at a time when one in four Spaniards are out of work. Unknown however, is which city gets this unemployment jackpot: Madrid or Barcelona. Both are prepared to make drastic concessions. Or how Mr Adelson states it: ‘Spain’s unemployment situation assures us the support of the government”. He therefore created a list of “development needs”.

The list is kept secret but the Spanish press have reported alleged requests by LVS for an easing of Spanish labour laws, lifting of visa restrictions on foreign employees, two-year tax breaks and permission to loophole health laws on smoking in public places and the weakening of environmental laws.

Political social resistance exists and it’s unclear if the politicians in Madrid or Barcelona will give in. The pressure for such allegedly employment-rich projects is steadily mounting in today’s crisis-hit Spain. A definitive decision is expected somewhere in September.