Madrid Casino to Boost Tourism by $19 Billion, Sainz Says

Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s plan to build Europe’s largest casino complex in Madrid would boost tourist spending there by 15 billion euros ($19.2 billion) per year, according to the agency in talks to secure the deal.

“It will change the dimension of our economy,” Jesus Sainz, chairman of Promomadrid, said in an interview in the Spanish capital on Sept. 10. “It will have an impact on our gross domestic product of between four and five points.”

Las Vegas Sands, the Nevada-based casino company controlled by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, said last week it chose Madrid as the location for the project. Should it be built, the complex may help Spain emerge from the second recession since 2009, which has pushed the unemployment rate to 25 percent and more than 50 percent among young people.

Sands, which has said it will contribute about 25 percent to 35 percent of the equity for the project, has yet to select a specific destination out of three possible sites for the planned resort and secure financing for the project. Once funding is in place, construction on the development could begin within 12 to 15 months, Sainz said.

Madrid beat Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city, in a bid to secure the investment, which could reach as much as 18 billion euros to build 12 resorts with 36,000 hotel rooms in three phases over a 10-year period, according to Sainz.

Airport Links

“They chose Madrid because its Barajas airport has connections with almost 250 cities worldwide and excellent infrastructure links within the capital and to the rest of Spain,” Sainz said.

If all three phases of the complex, which would include six casinos with more than 1,000 gambling tables, 18,000 slot machines, nine theaters and three golf courses, are completed, it would double the number of tourists visiting the region to 20 million per year, and increase tourism spending by 100 percent, according to Sainz.

Promomadrid estimates that the project would create 164,000 jobs directly and a further 97,000 jobs indirectly, equal to about half the number of unemployed in the region.

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