'Eurovegas' giant casino plan in Spain cancelled

The Venetian, Las Vegas Sands Las Vegas Sands plans to focus on Asian markets

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A plan to create a giant casino complex - called Eurovegas - near Madrid has collapsed after disagreements between the developer and Spanish authorities.

US casino operator Las Vegas Sands has pulled out of the $30bn (£18bn) project which included six casinos, 12 hotels and many shops.

Directly and indirectly the project was supposed to create up to 250,000 posts.

That was an important selling point in Spain where the jobless rate currently stands at 27%.

However Spanish authorities would not agree to several demands from the US company.

Las Vegas Sands wanted the government to insure it against future changes in policy which could damage the resort's profitability, as well as a lower tax on gambling.

There was also a disagreement over smoking at the resort, with Las Vegas Sands asking for the resort to be exempted from Spanish rules on smoking.

National interest

At a news conference after the government's weekly cabinet meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said: "New conditions were put forward concerning taxes and legal protection ... which could not be taken on board by the administrations involved,"

"The government needs to preserve the general interests of all Spaniards," she said.

Sands, Macau Record numbers of gamblers have been visiting Sands casino in Macao

In a statement, Las Vegas Sands chief executive Sheldon Adelson said: "While the government and many others have worked diligently on this effort, we do not see a path in which the criteria needed to move forward with this large-scale development can be reached.

"Developing integrated resorts in Europe has 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."

Madrid was selected as the location for the resort after a long battle with Barcelona, which also coveted the investment.

The casino complex has been opposed by several groups, including the Roman Catholic Church, which argued the development would encourage prostitution and crime.

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