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Howard Stutz

Sands taps Madrid as preferred locale for "Eurovegas"

10 September 2012

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas Sands Corp. announced Friday it had selected Madrid as the preferred location to build its planned $22 billion "Eurovegas" development.

In a statement, company officials said they selected Madrid over fellow Spanish city Barcelona because the regional government had been a strong advocate of the potential development, which could include 12 hotels and six casinos.

Las Vegas Sands officials said the process was still in the early phases. The company needs to select a site while a resolution of the current economic challenges within Europe would be "an important consideration."

Company officials said selecting Madrid was the first phase of the project. The next phase includes determination of the size, scope, specific location, and financing options from the capital markets for the project.

"Barcelona is an outstanding tourism destination and choosing Madrid over Barcelona was not an easy selection," Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson said in a statement. "We also want to express our deepest gratitude to the people both within the Barcelona government and those who served as consultants or advisers to us there while we went through our evaluation process."

Reuters quoted Spanish government officials as saying Barcelona failed in its bid to attract the development.

The two Spanish cities have been competing for the complex, which could provide a much-needed source of income for the regions.

According to Reuters, the president of Spanish region Catalonia told Radio Catalunya the failed bid cleared the way for talks on other investment projects in the region.

"It is not that we do not want the project. We have made a very attractive offer and closed the gap on Madrid, but negotiations cannot go on forever," a spokesman for the Catalan government said.

The El Pais newspaper reported the government was reviewing the potential Madrid deal with Las Vegas Sands. According to the newspaper, the project would get tax incentives. However, labor laws and indoor smoking restrictions would not be modified for the casino complex.