Brazil – Mayor of Rio backs Las Vegas Sands proposal for Integrated ResortBy Phil - 19 December 2018
The mayor of Rio de Janeiro Marcelo Crivella has defended the building of a large casino in Rio in order to look for new ways to develop the Downtown Port Zone.
Crivella, who is also a Brazilian evangelical bishop, said: “I am against vice, against misery, unemployment, and the stagnation of the economy. Congress will decide. It’s not about opening up gaming around the corner, or about slot machines and bingos everywhere. We are talking about a single casino in Rio that attracts millions of tourists.”
As forecast by local daily Valor Econômico in October and journalist Elio Gaspari in his column on Globo this Sunday, Crivella wants the help of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro to pass a bill in Congress that would allow the opening of a venture led by US billionaire Sheldon Adelson. The proposal would allow for four large-scale resorts along the lines of Marina Bay Sands – an integrated resort fronting Marina Bay in Singapore. Mr. Crivella said that for Las Vegas Sands to obtain a license, it would have to take part in a licence tender and laws would have to be changed as well.
According to Mr. Crivella, the new integrated resort would have the capacity to generate thousands of jobs and a number of player protection measures would be put in place.
“What they presented to me is that there will be hotels, a convention center, an exhibition center, a large mall and 5 per cent of the venture would be a casino. If that’s the case, if you generate 50,000 jobs, if there is an investment of US$10bn, I would be grateful if it comes,” he said.
In May 2017, Adelson met with standing Brazilian President Michel Temer and several government officials to pitch an $8 billion casino project in Rio de Janeiro. Adelson alongside a number of other businessperson and local politicians also met with Mayor Crivella. Crivella said at the time that he hoped to be able to count on Adelson in the future when it came to the development of the region of Porto Maravilha. Operation Porto Maravilha is an urban renewal project in Rio de Janeiro’s Downtown Port Zone, involving an area of 5m square meters and aimed at completely changing Rio de Janeiro’s neglected port area.
In May this year, Sheldon Adelson was once again in Brazil to discuss the establishment of integrated resorts in Brazil. Adelson told local press in São Paulo that: “I’m here to consider investing in one or more integrated resorts.”
Although not much is known regarding the exact nature of Sheldon’s plans for development in the region, it is likely to be large scale.