Las Vegas Sands has its own air force; Codere sues Spanish gaming regulator

codere-spain-las-vegas-sandsThe official location for Las Vegas Sands’ ambitious EuroVegas project near Madrid, Spain will be revealed on Friday, although the commercial district of Alcorcón has already been tipped as the “leading contender” by Sands’ president/COO Michael Leven. Regardless of where the sprawling resort-casino project ends up being built, it can rely on a steady stream of foreign high-rollers thanks to Sands’ unique frequent flyer program.

Speaking at the International Casino Conference in London earlier this week, Leven touted the fact that Sands runs “the largest private air force in the gaming industry and also in any private industry. Only government has more planes.” Air Adelson (Sheldon Air? Sky Sands?) already brings Asian high-rollers to Vegas, so why not Spain? While EuroVegas’ initial phase will feature only 56 VIP gaming tables, Leven believes Spain is “a very interesting destination for Asians.” Sands’ Asian VIPs have a little more money in their pockets these days, a phenomenon Leven expects will continue to grow “for the next 10 years at least, so I think we’ll get some of that traffic which will help the project.”

Meanwhile in Madrid, reliably litigious Spanish gaming operator Codere won’t be content until all those international online gambling kids get off its lawn. Having already sued Bwin, Sportingbet, Betfair and PokerStars for serving Spanish punters without a Spanish gaming license, Codere is now suing the Spanish government for giving these operators Spanish online gaming licenses. A judicial review filed by Codere with Madrid’s administrative High Court alleges that many of the online gambling licenses handed out last June were inappropriately granted. Codere claims that the exorbitant back taxes companies were required to pay weren’t nearly exorbitant enough and that Spanish gaming regulators failed to adequately check the companies’ servers for cooties.

A Codere flack told GamblingCompliance that the judicial review was but one plank of the company’s plan to “sort out Spain’s unfair gambling regulation. We think that online and land-based should be treated equally.” Codere’s Spanish operations have recently taken a turn for the worse, so it’s clearly on the hunt for a new boogeyman. Enrique Alejo, el jefe of Spanish gaming regulator DGoJ, plans to “defend the complete legality” of the licensing process in the High Court. Frankly, we suspect Codere simply wanted to quiet allegations that it had received favorable treatment from the DGoJ, in part because of the connections between Codere execs and Spain’s finance ministry. Tune in next week when Codere sues itself to underscore its commitment to equality.