16 billion euro casino project in Spain
The Spanish cities of Barcelona and Madrid are big rivals in many things, like football. Now they are rivals in the fight for a 16 billion euro mega casino project in Spain planned by US multi-billionaire mogul Sheldon Adelson.
The project, called ”Eurovegas”, will generate up to 200 000 jobs, according to Spanish officials. Spain is a country with a struggling economy and a high jobless rate at the moment and an offer like this is tempting.
14th richest man on the planet
Sheldon Adelson, the 14th richest man on the planet, owns casinos in Las Vegas, Macau (China) and since three years back the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Now he has to choose between the Catalan capital Barcelona, that has beaches and a big port with cruise ships docking every day or the nations capital Madrid that has the bigger and better-conected airports.
A low-tax haven
Mr. Adelsons company, Las Vegas Sands, says the project will generate 260 000 jobs while Madrid’s tourism boss, Ignacio Fernandez says around 200 000. With a unemployment rate of 23% in Spain Mr. Fernandez admits that the project’s job-creation potential makes it something politicians have to get for their country.
But Adelson has a list of conditions that are making people a little upset. He is unhappy about the level of social security he would have to pay his workers, and would like it to be easier for him to bring some workers from abroad.
He would also like to defy Spain’s nationwide smoking ban in public places by allowing people to smoke in certain parts of the casino compley, according to the tourism authority.
Gregorio Gordo, of Spain’s United Left party, says the project would become a low-tax haven och that local hotels would lose business to the 12 hotels which are planned as part of the complex.
But officials in Madrin and Barcelona are saying that the economic potential of the project means it is a gamble either city is willing to take.
Written by: Johan Vahlström
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