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Hannah Parry
Hannah Parry
  • 1 Minute Read
  • 01st March 2012

Madrid and Barcelona vying to house new Vegas-style complex

The-VenetianPalazzoThe-Palazzo

The current recession has hit many countries hard, causing high rates of unemployment and forcing many shops and businesses to close due to high levels of debt. Spain has been one of the countries worse affected by the recession and is currently struggling with a total lack of job opportunities, with unemployment rates at 23% and continuing to rise.

Sheldon Adelson, US billionaire and owner of the Venetian, the Palazzo and the Sands Expo Center in , has hatched a plan to build Europa Vegas – a giant complex which would contain shopping malls, conference centres, theatres, a golf course, hotels and twelve casinos.

Adelson, who has opened further resorts in and , has been met with mixed opinions on his grand scheme, some fearing that this resort will bring a rise in the number of people with a gambling addiction.

However, and are both doing their utmost to secure this complex, yet it is unclear which location will ultimately host it. While many see the advantages of such a project, others have their reservations, as some “don't agree with this sort of economic model, which would create a tax haven that comes close to being a form of slavery", according to José Quintana, a socialist Madrid regional deputy.

Furthermore, bishops in Madrid fear that "as a recent parliamentary session pointed out, gambling addiction brings with it an increase in illegal acts, suicides and bankruptcies".

Regional Catalan president, Artur Mas, however, is of the opinion that "this would turn Catalonia and Barcelona into the leading tourism zone in Europe”, and for this reason, Madrid’s regional prime minister, Esperanza Aguirre, states that "we have to encourage this ... though there are some demands that can be accepted and others that cannot."

This €17bn (£14.3bn) project is said to be half the size of the Las Vegas strip, and will create approximately 260,000 jobs, thereby aiding the unemployment problem in Spain. Adelson is sure that his new complex will be beneficial for Spain and says, "we have the necessary package of agreements with the government which we need to provide assurance of success”.

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