|Playboy Club Sands Macao, owned by Sheldon Adelson|
For those following the negotiations for the building of EuroVegas, a multi-casino-and-hotel complex in Madrid or Barcelona, the April 9th issue of The New Yorker has a profile of Sheldon Adelson, the casino operator who hatched the deal. The article portrays the emergence of Macao as the world's biggest gambling capital, feeding off the booming Chinese economy and dethroning Las Vegas, which has been hard-hit by the ongoing American economic slump.
This weekend, Madrid's Club de Dedates Urbanos (Urban Debates Club) put the propsoal on the table for public discussion. A three-hour video of the first day is available on their web page here.
I won't go into all the details of the negotiations, which have been widely covered in the press. Articles on the subject are collected on a special page at El País: EuroVegas.
I find it hard to believe that politicians are taking this seriously, and everyone else is taking it so calmly. But I also find it hard to believe that the proposal will actually get anywhere. It stinks like a sure-fire failure -- or an outright ripoff of public funds with the collusion of gullible public authorities, always ready to lower their trousers when a wad of bills gets waved under their noses.
Manuel Vicente offered a biting critique of the spectacle a couple of weeks ago in his Sunday column in El País on April 15th:
"…the forces of greed are once again prepared to introduce another damaging virus into this country. It's called Eurovegas, by Sheldon Adelson, a dude who takes Spaniards for idiots. In the middle of the economic crisis this macaroni promises us casinos, roulette wheels, whores, gangsters and skyscrapers in middle of the wasteland, as long as politicians, in exchange for hypothetical jobs, are prepared to lower their pants. This surfer dude carries a plague, similar to that of the red palm weevil, and he demands the same advantages enjoyed by this bug: nothing about controls, so he can nest at his ease, like a boil on the neck of future speculators, who, once they've filled their sacks, will leave this desert of brick to the mercy of the foxes and lizards." (Translation by DC)
Added June 5, 2012
Sign a petition for government disclosure of negotiations over EuroVegas organized by Change.org. Thanks, José Selgas.