The leader of the Socialist Party in the region of Madrid (PSM), Tomás Gómez, revealed on Tuesday that regional premier Esperanza Aguirre “closed a firm deal several days ago” with US business magnate Sheldon Adelson to build the controversial EuroVegas casino complex in Alcorcón.
If true, this means the suburb of 170,000 inhabitants, situated 13 kilometers to the southwest of the capital, would have won out over Barcelona in the year-long battle to host the European version of Las Vegas.
The Popular Party-run Madrid regional government has neither confirmed nor denied the information, while the company behind the project, Las Vegas Sands, has said it has yet to make a final decision, but will do so “as soon as possible.”
At a news conference, Gómez said the files were already with the Employment Ministry. According to the PSM leader, Aguirre had wanted to save the announcement for next week’s state-of-the-region address in order to distract attention from the serious problems of unemployment and cuts in health and education that are affecting Madrid.
Gómez assured journalists that he had “good, very reliable sources” for the information, but did not reveal who they were.
PP sources did not deny the claim.
Madrid and Catalonia have fought a long battle to host the project, which is slated to bring an investment of 26.690 billion euros and the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs. However, Adelson has courted controversy over his legal and fiscal demands, which include a 10-year tax holiday and exceptions to the indoor smoking ban.