Last week, around 200 people gathered in downtown Madrid to protest against the construction of Sheldon Adelson's Eurovegas complex in their city. Adelson, CEO for Las Vegas Sands and the 14th wealthiest person in the world, will choose either Madrid or Barcelona as the location for the Las Vegas's sands next project - a $21 billion entertainment complex that includes 6 casinos and 12 hotels.
In Madrid the unemployment rate is over 22% today and therefore they have been fighting extra hard to win the project that is said to generate, directly or indirectly, 200,000 - 260,000 jobs. So, what made some people protest against the project? Well, the main reason is the gambling itself and that the city's problems with drugs, criminality and prostitution might get even worse than it is today.
Another reason is that Adelson (picture) has made a long list of concessions he would like in exchange for the Sands' investment. For example: he want's a loophole in Spain's nationwide ban on smoking in public places, a relaxation of immigration laws, and a reduction in the amount of worker social security mandated by the government.
The project will be completed in 4-5 years once Adelson has decided between Madrid and Barcelona. Madrid has been frontrunner from the beginning , but Barcelona is catching up, according to Catalan President Arthur Mas. Both Madrid and Barcelona have plenty to offer if they get the project. Madrid has the biggest airport, while Barcelona is a bigger tourist destination and has a busy ship port.
It will be very interesting to see where the "Eurovegas" casino complex will be built.