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Spain – BCN World smaller with fewer casinos

By - 1 July 2016

Work on the entertainment macro complex previously known as BCN World in Vila-seca and Salou will begin in the summer of 2017 according to an announcement made by the Vice President of Catalonia Oriol Junqueras yesterday (June 30). The new project, which will be provisionally titled the Tourist and Recreation Complex (CRT), will be far less ambitious than envisaged and will house less casinos and hotels than previously announced.

According to Junqueras a total of €2.5bn will be invested in the project which will create 10 thousand jobs. Gaming space, however, will be reduced drastically to just 4 per cent of the total space of the new project.

The final plan allows for a maximum of two casino licenses. In all the project has shrunk from a million square meters to 750,000 (a 25 per cent reduction). Of this amount 30,000 square meters will be destined for casinos which will make up at most 4 per cent of the total space while the remaining 96 per cent will be allocated for hotels, convention centres and other commercial uses. Junqueras stressed that the new project is “much more realistic, sustainable and integrated into the environment,” while at the same time will still be attractive for investors.

While the casino space will be reduced the tax rate will remain the same as originally agreed. Taxation on casinos is generally very high in Spain, and in Catalonia it stands at about 55 percent of gross gaming revenue. Under new rules passed in 2014 , the Catalan Parliament ruled that casinos in Catalonia would pay 10 per cent on their revenues from gambling once the casinos are up and running

The project was placed on ‘stand-by’ in February due to growing political differences over the nature of project while the final urban planning had yet to be approved. However after government assurances that BCN World would be first and foremost a tourist destination consensus was reached with the Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (The Popular Unity Candidates ) a left, pro-Catalan independence political party and members of Esquerra Republicana (The Republican Left of Catalonia).

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