Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS)
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Madrid is now the frontrunner in the race to host Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s (LVS) first European integrated resort, a multibillion dollar project that Barcelona is also trying to attract, Barcelona's mayor Xavier Trias conceded Wednesday.
Sands's Chairman Sheldon Adelson has announced that he expects to make a final decision on the matter next month, Trias told reporters during a briefing here. According to several media estimates, Sands plans to invest as much as $35 billion in a casino complex that may create thousands of jobs in Spain, at a time when the euro zone's fourth-largest economy struggles with economic contraction and soaring unemployment.
"Madrid is in the most favorable situation to win, even though many people told [Adelson] that Barcelona is the best location," Trias said.
The project would be located either in Alcorcon, to the west of Madrid city, or Cornella, just north of Barcelona, Trias said. However, he added that Adelson's conditions to launch the resort and Spain's legal system have caused difficulties in the negotiations.
As an example, Trias cited Spain's strict regulations against allowing minors in casinos, which may clash with the design of some integrated projects. Harsh anti-smoking regulations implemented in recent years may also be a problem, Trias added.
"We just can't do everything he wants. He's got to adapt his model to European laws," Trias said.
Sands, which is also looking to expand into India, recently launched its first resort in Singapore, the $5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands, including the second casino in the island-state.
-By David Roman, Dow Jones Newswires, +34 91 395 8127; email@example.com