After very stiff competition for Sheldon Adelson’s EuroVegas between the two Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona, Madrid managed to win the lucrative agreement that Eurovegas would be built in its area.
The proposed casino resort is to be built over about ten years from the start of construction due begin at the end of this year. However, since there are still several of Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s demands still to be met by the Spanish authorities, there is some doubt at the moment as to whether the whole scheme will go ahead or not. To lose such a major construction project in the middle of the current economic downturn in Spain’s economy would be a huge blow to the country’s hopes of recovery. It is thought that the construction of the casino resort alone could provide up to almost a quarter of a million employment opportunities.
The main stumbling block to the building of the casino resort is Sheldon Adelson’s demand that smoking be allowed in the complexes’ casinos. Last year, Madrid’s head of the regional government, Esperanza Aguirre stated that if her city was chosen over Barcelona for EuroVegas, that she would be willing to exempt the complexes’ casinos from the smoking in public places ban. Now the regional president, Ignacio Gonzalez has warned that Madrid could lose the whole casino complex if the government’s smoking ban is not lifted. The Spanish Ministry of Health has no immediate plans to change the anti-smoking legislation but has indicated that it will discuss the matter. The latest development is that the Spanish Central government may allow the regional governments to deal with the matter individually and possibly give exemptions to the smoking ban in certain situations. The backers of EuroVegas are hoping that it will be granted such an exemption.As well as losing thousands of jobs in the gambling resorts 6 casinos, 12 hotels, retail outlets, restaurants, golf courses and entertainment centres, Madrid would also lose out on a possible tourist influx of up to 4 million people. The smoking ban is just one of the problems facing the casino resort, finance and other legal matters have also to be sorted out before construction can begin.