Lawrence Ho, Chairman of Melco Crown Entertainment and son of the Macau based casino magnate, Stanley Ho has recently signed an agreement with the Spanish company, Veremonte Espana to further discuss his company managing one or possibly more casinos in the Barcelona World complex. The proposal to develop Barcelona World was put forward in the autumn of 2012 when Sheldon Adelson, Chairman of Las Vegas Sands chose the city of Madrid over Barcelona for his planned Eurovegas. However, when his demands including lower taxes for casinos and a lifting of the smoking ban were not met by the authorities in Madrid, Adelson decided to pull out of the Eurovegas project and look to investing in casinos in Asia’s developing gambling markets. Now Barcelona World does not have a rival and it is hoped that the first casino resort in the complex will open in 2016.When it is complete, it is proposed that Barcelona World would comprise of six casino resorts themed on the six continents. The first of these casino resorts, Barcelona Dream is the one that may be managed by Lawrence Ho’s company, Melco International Development. The recent signing of a memorandum of understanding between Melco and Veremonte Espana opens the way for further discussions between the parties involved in the project. Melco International Development would have two Spanish partners, The Melia Hotel Group and the Value Retail Group. The proposed first casino resort, Barcelona Dream will cover 300 000 square metres and have over a thousand hotel rooms, a casino and a theatre.The long term plans for Barcelona World are that is will be Europe’s equivalent of Las Vegas offering both gaming and leisure facilities on a site just an hour from Barcelona. The whole development of six casino resorts is estimated to amount to about 1 billion dollars with the estimated cost of the first casino resort thought to be over 700 million euros. There is also the possibility that Melco Development International could be asked to manage more casinos as the development progresses and this would fit in with Lawrence Ho’s plans to spread his casino empire beyond Macau.
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