Mitt Romney's backer to build huge £18bn 'EuroVegas' resort outside Madrid
Bishops fear Sheldon Adelson’s €22bn casino will lead poor Spaniards into gambling addiction
At a time when 26 per cent of Spaniards are unemployed, on paper it could hardly be better news: the Las Vegas Sands Corporation and Madrid’s government selected the large dormitory town of Alcorcón for what is set to become Europe’s biggest casino resort.
Alcorcón’s mayor, David Pérez, said that the €22bn (£18bn) project dubbed “EuroVegas” will turn his town – which has 15,000 jobless amongst its 170,000 inhabitants – into “an unprecedented nexus of employment just at the moment that it is most needed”.
But EuroVegas has already created an unlikely alliance of opponents. Catholic bishops have warned of increased gambling addiction. Ecological associations have questioned the environment impact of the “strip”, which will be roughly triangular in shape with sides three kilometres long and contain at least 12 hotels and six casinos.
Soon after the announcement, the EuroVegas No Campaign announced a protest in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square, saying in a statement: “What guarantees do such supposed jobs have? Beyond these baseless claims, it is to be expected that EuroVegas is only beneficial for a privileged minority and will provoke irreversible environmental damage in the region.”
There can be no doubting the wealth of the Las Vegas Sands chairman, Sheldon Adelson. Ranked the 14th richest person in the world, he was a key backer of the failed bid for the US presidency by the Republican, Mitt Romney. But questions remain on where the money will come from to fund such a huge project. Las Vegas Sands will provide between 35 and 40 per cent of the funding, but the source for the remaining 65 per cent is unclear. The key issue for Spain is what it will do for its dole queues. Whilst Spanish daily El País has estimated that around 40,000 employees will be needed in the initial phase, final figures of up to a quarter of a million direct and indirect jobs have been touted - which would wipe out half of the region of Madrid’s unemployment total at a stroke.
But opposition parties in Madrid’s regional parliament have vigorously questioned such figures as overly optimistic and have criticised the easing of building restrictions, which according to Socialist Party spokesman Jose Quintana, “wouldn’t have happened in a banana republic”. Building work on the project just south-west of Madrid should start at the end of this year. The initial phase is due to be finished by 2017, with the resort fully completed by 2023 at a reported cost of €22bn. EuroVegas is forecast to provide overnight hotel accommodation for up to 36,000 visitors. Each casino will be home to 18,000 slot machines.
While the resort is confined to a ground area about half the size of Las Vegas, there will be no upper skywards limit. A specially approved law in December has removed usual height restrictions for EuroVegas skyscrapers, as well as allowing for as yet unspecified tax breaks on winnings. Smoking bans, too, may be eased in some sectors of the project.
As for Alcorcón itself, prior to EuroVegas the town’s only claim to fame was in 2009 when its recently promoted Second Division football side inflicted a stinging 4-0 knock-out defeat of Real Madrid in the country’s equivalent of the FA Cup.
Since then the expression “alcorconazo” has entered regional vernacular as slang for “pulling off Mission Impossible”. Whether Alcorcón now becomes a byword for “hitting the jackpot” employment-wise with their successful EuroVegas bid, remains to be seen.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 3 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 4 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
- 5 Cristiano Ronaldo storms out of interview after being asked about possible sale of Manchester United target Sergio Ramos
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Eiji Tsuburaya: Godzilla co-creator honoured in today's interactive Google Doodle
Bakery sends 'horrific' version of Frozen-themed birthday cake to unsuspecting customer
Florida teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing three pupils
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...