US regional casino operator Cordish Gaming has shaken up Spain’s gaming market by announcing plans for a €2.2b casino, hotel and resort complex in the Madrid area.
Cordish, whose gaming properties include Maryland’s market-leading Maryland Live! casino, announced Thursday that it had purchased 134 hectares of land in the Torres de la Alameda region near Madrid’s Barajas airport, on which the company plans to build a massive integrated resort it’s calling Madrid Live!
At a media presentation at the Palace Hotel, Cordish Companies CEO Joseph Weinberg said the project was fully financed and his company needed only the necessary permits from local authorities before it could start turning soil to make Madrid Live! a reality.
Weinberg called Madrid “the ideal place” to launch Cordish’s first international location thanks to its built-up infrastructure and established reputation as a leisure destination.
Assuming approval is granted, Cordish estimates that it can complete the first of the project’s planned three phases within 18 to 24 months. Once complete, Madrid Live! could feature up to 4k hotel rooms, with a gaming floor that will occupy between 5% and 10% of the overall project area. The property will also boast the now standard assortment of dining, shopping, convention, clubbing and live event venues.
Cordish says the project will create up to 57k direct and indirect jobs, with an economic impact on Madrid of between €4b and €6b in the property’s first five years of operation. Cordish expects the property to attract an annual 1m tourists to Madrid.
The scale of the plan has resurrected uneasy memories of EuroVegas, the aborted plan by Las Vegas Sands to build a Spanish integrated resort complex. EuroVegas came to nothing after Sands boss Sheldon Adelson demanded significant concessions, including major tax breaks and an exemption from Spain’s indoor smoking ban.
Mindful of this history, Weinberg said Cordish wasn’t looking for any public handouts or special treatment. Weinberg even said Cordish would be willing to compete against rival operators if the Madrid government chose to hold a public tender on the right to build such a resort.