US casino magnate Sheldon Adelson's planned multi-billion-euro Eurovegas project is still facing a major obstacle in the form of the central government's rejection of any changes to anti-tobacco legislation in order to allow smoking in casinos.
In response to a written request by the centrist UPyD party for clarification of the administration's stance on Sheldon's demand for smoking to be permitted in his casinos, the government said that "at the current time, there are no plans to propose changes to the law."
"Through the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, the government's main priority is the promotion of the health of citizens and the prevention of illnesses caused by tobacco," the short response concluded.
Sheldon has met on two occasions with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to explain the merits of his project, and took the opportunity to insist on an easing of the ban on smoking in public places.
Anxious to attract a project that could involve investment of up to 17 billion euros, and create 164,000 direct jobs, the Madrid regional government - which, like the central administration, is controlled by the conservative Popular Party - has backed Sheldon's calls for the smoking ban to be eased.
In response to the government's continued reluctance to modify the laws on smoking, the spokesman for the Madrid regional government and the head of the PP's electoral committee, Salvador Victoria, insisted on Monday that the changes Sheldon wants "would be good."