Madrid and Eurovegas
It is undoubtedly one of the most controversial projects in which the Comunidad de Madrid has embarked: the construction of the European subsidiary of the world capital of gambling.
The public opinion is divided: some believe that it will be a good lure for Madrid and that, given the present crisis, it would be of help in terms of jobs; on the other side are those who think that it is a bad investment, that it won’t solve the unemployment problem in Spain, and that it will aggravate problems like urban corruption, organized delinquency or labour exploitation.
Almost every day since the magnate Sheldon Adelson chose Spain’s capital as the setting for his enormous –or monstrous, depending on whom you ask- project, new facts appear that back the opinions of both sides. As many other things in Spain, the arguments of one side override those of the other side, and the last option is to discredit the contenders: if you support the project, you are defending perverse and immoral interests; if you don’t, you are unconscious and don’t see the need of progress in critical times.
No wonder, then, that a new “third” opinion has risen, which’s motto could be: “I don’t want to be wed by Elvis or spending my salary at the Black Jack table, but I also don’t want to prohibit anybody to lead their lives as they want.”
It is no modest plan: 12 resorts, 6 casinos, 9 theatres, 3 golf courses… and the promise of an investment of 15.000-18.800 million euros, as well as creating 164.000 direct jobs. For many, this is “an offer you cannot refuse”, whilst other think that “our enemy has not yet shown his true face”.
Promoters assure that gambling will not be the only thing at Eurovegas: a big part of its offer would be destined to the so-called “convention tourism”, that is, the trips and hotels stays for business fairs or business congresses and conferences. Nevertheless, this argument has not helped much to convince the sceptics: why organizing a long stay in a hotel for a business event when Spain is a small country with enough flight and hi-speed train connections to link two cities in a few hours? Why going to the outskirts of Madrid when in the city itself there are enormous centric hotels, as well as fairgrounds near the airport?
Whatever happens with the city of gambling will be seen in a few years. Until then, it is all speculation and debate. When the hotels and casinos are up and working, we will see who was right… although, as someone said, “most probably reality will show that we were both wrong”.