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Spain – Elysium City could be just one of several casinos in Extremadura

By - 19 December 2018

New details are emerging regarding the casino plans for the latest US-backed casino resort being planned for Spain with documents released to the media detailing how the project could contain much more than just one casino.

Earlier this month Cora Global announced that it was looking to spend $3bn on developing a resort with a casino, diverse entertainment options, a football stadium and a Formula One track in Extremadura.

To be called Elysium City, the casino resort will be based on Greek mythology. Cora Global has already received approval from the Extremadura government, with construction on the first phase slated to start within the next six months with the aim of 2023 opening for phase one. The second phase is expected to open by 2028.

According to Spanish daily Cinco Días, the company has already submitted documentation together with the necessary guarantee of 10 million euros to the Extremadura government.

In the documentation received by the press, the company mentions a master’s license for 20 casinos, but that number has grown by another 13 taking the total to 33. However this is a precautionary measure only in case of any planning problems on the site further down the line and the number of casinos will be limited. “The group wanted to play it safe since the terms and conditions states how many will be able to open,” a spokesperson for the company said.

According to Cora Alpha for now only a maximum of four casinos are now being considered but the new documents submitted to the board  allows for more casinos if there is a need to  expand later. The company spokesperson told Cinco Días that more licenses are being requested “but not with the intention of creating a Vegas city, but because of a matter of bureaucratic efficiency . . .”

Earlier this month former Disney Vice President John Cora, now owner of Cora Global, held a press conference with Extremadura President Guillermo Fernández Vara to outline that the project, if approved, would occupy a 1,200-hectare site in the town of Castilblanco.

In July, the Assembly of Extremadura approved a new bill, which facilitates the creation of large leisure facilities. The new rules allow for a fast and efficient process that will allow the region to compete on equal terms with other autonomous communities.

Phase one of Elysium City will boast an 18-hole golf course, a football stadium with capacity for 40,000 spectators, a three- and a five-star hotels, a casino, a small marina, an adventure water park, and a theme park, among other amenities. It will create around 15,000 new jobs. Phase two will see more hotels, residential towers, floating islands, a larger marina, a convention center and the Formula One track.

The President of Extremadura Guillermo Fernández Vara first announced the new measures to allow for a large-scale large-scale leisure facilities in the area in March. In April, the new bill received the favourable opinion of the Council of State. In July, the Assembly of Extremadura approved the bill.

The legislation requires a global investment of at least €1bn, the creation of a minimum of 2,000 direct jobs and the creation of a minimum of 3,000 hotel rooms. However, the law was amended so that the minimum requirement for any large-scale leisure complex was reduced from 1,000 to 300 hectares. The new law was opposed by left wing populist party Podemos Party arguing that it was “tailored to suit casinos” as favourable conditions will be imposed when it comes to gambling taxes.

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