Madrid wins Eurovegas deal

Europe’s biggest gambling complex will be built outside Madrid over the next decade. Gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands, who has chosen Madrid rather than Barcelona, has announced plans for several casinos and 12 hotels, a total of about 36,000 beds. In the short-term this will mean about 250,000 construction jobs.

However the Madrid region is going to have to modify local planning laws to accommodate Eurovegas, and Las Vegas Sands has said that is only putting up 35 per cent of the investment. Financing still needs to be worked out in detail.

Opposition to the Madrid scheme is coming from the Roman Catholic Church and from the Indignados protest movement, both fearing the spin-offs from gambling, such as corruption and addiction.

The Catalonian regional government has announced its own project, Barcelona World, near the Portaventura theme park in Tarragona, about 100 kms south of Barcelona, with six hotels and six casinos.

Although it was initially attracted by the Eurovegas project the terms of a deal, which included changes to the non-smoking laws and access for minors to the gaming areas, were too high to meet.