Barcelona and Madrid, are vying to attract a giant casino project dubbed “Eurovegas”, Las Vegas Sands. Texan tycoon Sheldon Adelson already owns Casinos in Las Vegas and Macau, this would be his first in Europe.
Echoes of the kind of competition usually seen on the football pitch are evident as both cities try to to attract the vast 16bn euro complex of hotels and casinos.
According to official Spanish government sources the Casino would generate up to 200,000 jobs, given Spain’s high 5 million unemployment rate (23%) this has obvious advantages for the winning city.
While Barcelona is a famous tourist destination already, with beaches and a port where cruise ships bring thousands of tourists every day, Madrid has a hub airport and is the capital city.
As well as the Hotel and Casino revenue, major conferences and exhibitions are also planned to be held. This is currently a major source of income to Barcelona which the city is most keen to hang on to but which Madrid would also like a piece of.
Negotiations between Spanish politicians and Texan Tycoon Sheldon Adelson are stalling on a list of conditions given by the former, who is unhappy about the amount of social security he would have to pay his workers. In addition he would also like immigration laws to be relaxed so it he can bring workers from abroad, and for anti-smoking laws to be waved on his prmises. In other words, he wishes to be made a special case of, this is a difficult precedent for the Spanish government whatever the pay offs.
Barcelona has always been behind Madrid in the race, but according to Catalan president Artur Mas, in recent weeks Barcelona has been closing the gap. However, politicians in the Spanish capital have been working with Mr Adelson for much longer.
The Spanish central government will ultimately decide whether to grant Las Vegas Sands their demands.
Where do you think the Casino would be better placed?