Is Adelson Dealing Spain a Bad Hand?
Spain's economy was one of the hardest hit when the housing bubble burst in 2008. It is estimated that 28% of the country's homes are vacant, and property owners who are looking to refinance are being offered 40 and 50 year mortgage options. Of the EU, Spain has the highest unemployment rates at 25.1% and 50% for workers less than 25 years of age. Presently, euro-zone government officials are evaluating potential bailout scenarios where the funds being requested (mostly from the European Central Bank) are said to be as steep as €500 billion.
How does the US's 12th wealthiest person, Sheldon Adelson, fit into the picture? The Las Vegas Sands Corporation bigwig has offered to finance 35% of a proposed mega casino and hotel construction, which would be based in Madrid's outer-city limits. Many Spaniards are fuming, saying the EuroVegas business model is a crapshoot, at best.
Since 2007, it has been estimated that casino revenue in Spain has fallen by 40%, and protestors against the idea of a US corporation constructing 12 hotels, 6 casinos and 3 golf courses at a projected cost of over €26 billion the next 5 years think the prospect of EuroVegas is absolutely absurd. People fear that Spain could be taken advantage of with Adelson's promises of a quick fix for the country's economic crisis.
If they build it, will they come? Will Spain see an increase of 250,000 jobs upon the completion of EuroVegas, or will Madrid be left in the dust, having accumulated more debt and vacant properties?