By Leslie J. López
SPAIN — "We are negotiating strongly with banks, but the details will be known after the location is decided. The project will be a continuation of our resort in Macau" said Sheldon Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.
The American tycoon visited Madrid one month ago to confirm that Eurovegas — Adelson's plan to bring a taste of the Vegas strip to the outskirts of Madrid — will be a real project. The location is just the last detail before beginning construction. Adelson has announced that Eurovegas will be launched in late 2013 and there is already funding.
"We are working to finalize the site that eventually will house the project and the financing terms of the same over the coming months", explained Ignacio González, president of Madrid region. The company estimates that the total investment required is around 18 billion euros. The money would go towards building six casinos with 18,000 slot machines and 1,000 gambling tables, three golf courses, 17 theaters, a convention center, restaurants, shopping centers and 12 hotels featuring 36,000 hotel rooms.
Also, before any branding of the project can begin the name of the gambling resort needs to be finalized. EuropaVegas is being discussed as another option.
This luxury resort is Sheldon Adelson’s first great project in Europe. Las Vegas Sands Corporation projects the investment will create more than 200,000 jobs.
During the press conference, Michael Leven, CEO of Las Vegas Sands said the project was a pleasure. "We are thrilled. Once again we can guarantee that we have the capital necessary to make this go forward."
However, for some Spaniards Eurovegas is a controversial project. “Plataforma Eurovegas No,” an association comprised of different civil groups, is totally opposed to the Eurovegas project. They denounce the lack of transparency of the deals between the three levels of the Estate — local, regional and national — and the tycoon Sheldon Adelson.
Plataforma Eurovegas No thinks this ambitious project breaks labor and union rights. Members of “Ecologistas en Accion” — a green organization — demonstrated against this “mega-construction” in Spain.
“It needs more resources than what we have in the Madrid area," said the green organization which declared that EuroVegas would produce a negative impact on the environment. Other political parties – PSOE e IU — also disagree with the “venture” of Las Vegas Sands.
Leslie J. López is a freelance journalist based in Sevilla, Spain and publisher of InSevilla.