Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Sheldon G. Adelson is seen speaking at a news conference at the opening of the Sheraton Macao in this September 2012 file photo. The company announced that it is abandoning an ambitious plan to build Europa Vegas, a gambling and leisure resort west of Madrid. European Pressphoto Agency
LVS said in a news release that it doesn’t “see a path in which the criteria needed to move forward with this large-scale development can be reached.” The company didn’t elaborate on the reasons for the decision.
Spain’s state-owned new agency EFE reported separately that Spain’s government rejected LVS’ conditions to go ahead with the project, quoting government sources. Among those, EFE cited government guarantees on investments made, and a compensation deal to cover any losses related to future changes in Spanish laws regarding the resort. Talks had come close to breaking point in recent months, as Spanish officials said Mr. Adelson’s regularly kept coming up with new demands.
The cancellation of the project comes after years of difficult negotiations between Mr. Adelson’s group and representatives from Spain’s central government and the Madrid regional government. Until last year, the talks also included the Catalonian regional government but Mr. Adelson eventually decided to set the project in Madrid.
Madrid’s authorities were banking on the massive project to contribute to the economic recovery of the region, an economic engine in crisis-hit Spain, and had agreed to Mr. Adelson’s requests to make changes to Spain’s strict antismoking laws. The project had been touted as Spain’s most ambitious investment plan since the collapse of its property market in 2008.
Plans called for the construction of a complex on 1,853 acres in Alcorcón, west of Madrid.
The project, called Europa Vegas, was aiming to draw tourists from all over Europe to what would become the continent’s biggest gambling and leisure resort. When Madrid was selected as the resort’s location in September last year, Las Vegas Sands said it could create up to 200,000 permanent jobs in six casinos and 12 hotels that it planned to open in three phases starting in 2016.
Las Vegas Sands had also said it expected to put up no more than 35% of the resort’s estimated $22 billion cost while seeking additional funds on capital markets.