Spain is attempting to restart its stalled BCN World integrated resort zone with a new name and 50% less casino space.
On Thursday, the government of Spain’s autonomous Catalan region unveiled its revised plans to develop a tourist-friendly resort zone in the villages of Vila-seca and Salou on the Costa Daurada.
The long-delayed project, which had operated under various names (EuroVegas, BCN World) since it was first announced in 2012, is now operating under the decidedly unsexy umbrella of the Center for Recreation and Tourism (CRT).
Under the latest plan, the CRT will now feature a maximum of two casinos, down from six in the original scheme. Furthermore, the total amount of space occupied by these two casinos has been halved to 30k square meters, equal to about 4% of the overall tourist zone, which has also been scaled back from 1m square meters to 750k.
The project may end up with only one casino, depending on who wins the tender. As it stands, there are three pre-approved contenders: America’s Hard Rock International, a combo of Spanish firm Grup Peralada and Malaysia’s Genting conglomerate, and a tandem of Lawrence Ho-controlled firms, Melco International Development and MelcoLot.
Spanish media reported that Melco and Hard Rock are expected to make a combined pitch – just as they’re cooperating on their Cyprus casino bid – and if their bids are accepted, each will be allowed to build its own casino. But if the Grup Peralada bid wins the day, it will be the only casino permit issued.
The applicants will have to pay a deposit of €2.5m and be willing to spend up to €2.5b to build their Spanish projects. The lucky recipients will pay 10% tax on their gaming revenue as well as a further 1% toward cultural projects in the province of Tarragona.
Despite the delays in arriving at this latest plan, the government appears to be in no hurry to get underway, as the winning bidder(s) apparently won’t learn their fate until sometime next year. The government says it hopes work will begin on the CRT by next summer.