BARCELONA, Spain — Las Vegas Sands said Monday it will hold off until September before deciding whether to build a jobs-rich mega casino development in Madrid or Barcelona.
Less than three months after the firm promised a decision in April or May, Las Vegas Sands president and chief operating officer Mike Leven told a news conference here that its verdict would now come early September.
The two cities were running neck and neck, he said, in the contest to host a development that reportedly will have six casinos, 12 hotels, nine theatres and three golf courses.
The project -- informally dubbed Eurovegas -- has been sold as creating tens of thousands of jobs in a country with a jobless rate of 24.4 percent. It is being wooed by politicians in both cities.
"If the euro disappears or there is no financing, we won't be able to do it," Leven cautioned, according to Spanish news sites, adding that the group generally sought a minimum 20 percent annual return on investment.
If Eurovegas had 6,000 hotel rooms it would require an investment of $6.0 billion (4.8 billion euros) of which $2.0 billion would be come from Las Vegas Sands and $4.0 billion from bank financing, Leven was quoted as saying.
A project of that size would create 15,000 jobs in the construction phase and another 15,000 when operating, he said.
The casino group was seeking legal exceptions to allow smoking areas while respecting workers' health and also would like a reduction in gaming taxes, Leven was quoted as saying.
A gathering of protesters welcomed the casino delegation as it arrived at the Barcelona-El Prat airport, some with messages for the Las Vegas Sands chairman and chief executive Sheldon Adelson.
One protest sign in English read: "Catalonia is not Nevada. Adelson go home. More farmers and less casinos! We are unemployed, not stupid!"
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