Spain takes gamble on becoming the Vegas of Europe

Spain is ready to become the European Las Vegas as super casinos have announced plans for gambling resorts.

The outskirts of Madrid are earmarked for mega Vegas style resorts – while a casino is included in the massive Paramount Theme Park under construction in Murcia and due to open in 2015.

Spain is already a top destination for expats and tourists – and even more are expected to be lured by the bright lights and other attractions likely to spring up around the casinos and theme park.

The hope is the developments will boost tourism and investment in Spain’s flagging economy, but the results of the badly needed financial tonic are unlikely to be seen for years as building has only just got underway in Murcia for Paramount and the casinos are a long way from receiving government and local planning approvals.

Madrid and Barcelona reveal casino plans

The Madrid complex will include four casinos, 12 hotels with a total of 36,000 rooms, three golf courses and nine theatres. The project is expected to take a decade to build.

Barcelona was in the running for the resort, but the developers have named Madrid as their ‘preferred’ site.

“Barcelona is an outstanding tourism destination and choosing Madrid over Barcelona was not an easy selection,” said a spokesman.

However, the city has confirmed plans for ‘Barcelona World’ – a rival €4.8 billion hotel, shopping and casino resort.

The Ministry of Industry says 33 million foreign tourists visited Spain in the first seven months of 2012, 3.3% higher than the same period in 2011, with a record 7.7 million foreigners arriving in July alone – up 4.4% on the same period last year.

Paramount airport ready for take off

In Murcia, Regional Minister for Culture and Tourism, Pedro Alberto Cruz, welcomed the resort plans for Madrid and Barcelona

“They confirm that theme parks are becoming fashionable again. They have become the cornerstone of regional tourism for tourism-orientated areas of Spain, while the proposed schemes are complementary to each other and will generate wealth for the economy,” he said.

Cruz also confirmed Corvera International Airport will open later this year and that by Easter, will be ready to start receiving a full summer schedule of flights. The airport is currently being cleared of construction materials and smartened for the opening.