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Eurovegas project at risk, says Madrid premier

PP official blames prime minister for dragging feet on tobacco law change Financing also an issue for macro-casino project

Madrid stands to lose out on Eurovegas if the central government doesn’t act quickly to change the anti-smoking laws, regional premier Ignacio González warned on Tuesday.

“We run the risk that Eurovegas will be moved to another site,” González told esRadio in an interview.

The Popular Party (PP) premier revealed that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy promised on two occasions to push for a relaxation of the smoking regulation after holding meetings with Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson. But so far Rajoy, also of the PP, has not kept to his commitment that the proposal would be ready by September, he said.

The sprawling multi-million-euro casino, convention and hotel project, which is to be built in Alcorcón, had been received with much fanfare by the PP regional government when Adelson awarded his latest Las Vegas-themed development to Madrid over Barcelona. Madrid officials believe the project will create some 250,000 jobs over the next decade. But the initial phase of the project has gotten off to a rocky start. The central government has not begun to expropriate the land where Eurovegas will be built and financing has been tight.

Last week when asked about the changes to the law, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said there “are certain procedures to modifying” legislation that “don’t necessarily have to come from the Cabinet.”

“We all have to be aware that this is the most important investment that could be made in Europe in the coming years,” González said. “We have to do all that is possible to ensure that it is built.”

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