Las Vegas Sands Corp., the casino company controlled by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, chose the town of Alcorcon near Madrid as the site of Europe’s largest resort, a project that may boost Spain’s ailing economy.
“For some time we have been working on an inspiring and extraordinary project whose goal is to make Madrid the international reference point for conventions, fairs, exhibitions and leisure in Southern Europe,” Ignacio Gonzalez, president of Madrid’s regional government, said today at a press conference in the Spanish capital.
The Madrid area was chosen in September with the specific location until now undetermined. Work on the first phase of the project Alcorcon, which is 13 kilometers (8 miles) south-west of the city’s center, will finish in 2017, said Gonzalez.
The project, dubbed “EuroVegas” in the press, could help Spain cope with its second recession since 2008 and create jobs at a time when the nation’s unemployment rate has soared to the highest in Europe at about 26 percent. Spain accounted for $478 million of Western Europe’s $13.2 billion casino spending in 2010, the third biggest gambling market in Europe after France and Germany, according to a report by accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP.
If all three phases are completed, the mega-resort would boost the region’s gross domestic product by 4.5 percent, according to Promomadrid, a government-owned company that tries to attract foreign investment to the Madrid area. It estimates the development could create 164,000 jobs directly and a further 97,000 indirectly, equal to about half the number of unemployed in the region.
Las Vegas Sands has the $3.6 billion needed for its portion of the first phase of the project, Michael Leven, the company’s president and chief operating officer, said at the news conference, adding it would take from 15 to 18 years to complete EuroVegas. The company will provide about 35 percent of financing for the project, which will occupy a 750 hectare (1,850 acre) site, said Gonzalez.
The complex would include as many as six casinos with more than 1,000 gambling tables, 18,000 slot machines, nine theaters and three golf courses. It would cost as much as $35 billion, Adelson said in an April conference call with investors. Sands will build four resorts with 3,000 rooms at EuroVegas, Leven said.
Las Vegas-based Sands fell 1.4 percent to $53.55 yesterday in New York. The shares have advanced 16 percent this year.