Adelson Folds In Madrid

American casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson has scrapped his plans to build a “EuroVegas” casino near Madrid because the Spanish government rejected some of his demands. 

Photo: AP Photo
Meeting with Madrid officials at the site of the new EuroVegas casino project.

In February, 80-year-old Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands reached an agreement with the local authority, but on Dec. 13 the country’s national government said some of the concessions the company was demanding conflicted with Spanish and European law.

Spainish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said the demands included tax benefits, financial compensation in the event of any future law change that could affect the project, and an assurance that new operators would be not be allowed in the sector.

The company’s plans for a $30 billion complex would have included six casinos, 12 hotels, a convention center, golf courses, theaters, shopping malls, bars and restaurants.

The Spanish government, in a country where unemployment stands at 26 percent, had hoped it might create about 260,000 jobs, especially among the young, where unemployment is around 50 percent.

But the plan had been fiercely opposed by many who feared the resort would lead to a change in non-smoking laws, promote prostitution and provide only low-paying jobs such as card dealers, waiters and chamber maids.

With Spain’s economy immersed in a deep financial crisis and a two-year recession, some analysts said raising capital for 65 percent of EuroVegas was going to be difficult.

Banks are mainly focused on coping with losses from failed construction projects, not embarking on ambitious new investments.

The planned multibillion-dollar project was due to have been built in wasteland on the edge of the relatively colorless suburb of Alcorcon, about 10 miles southwest of downtown Madrid.