The eurozone crisis and financing problems have cast a shadow on plans to build a giant Las Vegas-inspired casino complex in Madrid or Barcelona, Michael Leven, the number two of Las Vegas Sands Corp said Tuesday.
The “Eurovegas” was projected by its backers to create up to 250,000 jobs in a country where a quarter of the workforce is unemployed.
Leven would not rule out that the project could be scrapped but he said at a press conference that a decision whether to go ahead can now be expected “by September 1”.
The announcement was initially to be made earlier this year.
Asked what caused the delay Leven said talks had been held “with about 30 banks already” but that there were financing issues.
“I think it’s more difficult today because of the international global situation but it’s certainly not impossible,” he said.
“The project could be cancelled for two reasons: one is that the agreements that we are involved in discussing with the government might not pass the legislature.”
The second reason was that if the project cannot be “financed by the banks, in other words if the world gets worse in the next six or seven momths, then of course we would not be able to do the project”.
Opponents of the project argue that Las Vegas Sands demands a change to Spain’s strict anti-moneylaundering legislation and a 10-year moratorium on a gambling tax.
Fifty anti-Eurovegas demonstrators took to the streets in central Madrid late Tuesday banging pots.
Opponents also warn of a repeat of the property bubble that burst in 2008 plunging Spain into its current crisis.
Eurovegas would see four integrated casino complexes come to life over 10 to 15 years, and would comprise 12 hotels with 36,000 rooms, nine theatres and three golf courses.
Initially, 12,000 rooms and four buildings would be built, complete with the necessary infrastructure, for about 6.8 billion euros ($8.5 million), 35 percent of which would come from Las Vegas Sands, said Leven.