The company, which is helmed by the 80-year-old American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, “had proposed a 22 billion-euro ($30 billion) project that was to include 12 hotels, six casinos, a convention center, golf courses, theaters, shopping malls, bars and restaurants,” the AP reported.
Unemployment stands at 26 percent in Spain, where the government had hoped that the project would help to create around 260,000 jobs for Spain’s young population, where the unemployment rate stands at 50 percent.
The plan was nixed, however, after opposition was raised regarding the changes that may come with the resort: a change in non-smoking laws, the promotion of prostitution and the provision of only low-paying jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Las Vegas Sands Corp. said in a statement that it didn’t “see a path in which the criteria needed to move forward with this large-scale development could be reached.” The company said its immediate development plans will now be focused on its Asian business.
Adelson elaborated in the statement, saying that “developing integrated resorts in Europe has always been a vision of mine for years, but there is a time and place for everything and right now our focus is on encouraging Asian countries, like Japan and Korea, to dramatically enhance their tourism offering through the development of integrated resorts there.”
Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, is reported by the AP to have said that the company had made late demands for legal and financial guarantees that “did not comply with Spanish law or that of the European Union.”
According to the AP, “She 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.”
Initially, Adelson had also assessed Barcelona, on the Mediterranean coast, as a possible location for Europa Vegas before opting for Madrid. One obstacle had been that Las Vegas Sands would fund only 35 percent of the complex. Other investors were supposed to make up the rest.
The planned multibillion-dollar project was supposed to have been built on the edge of the relatively colorless suburb of Alcorcon, 10.5 miles to the southwest of downtown Madrid.