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Spain – Madrid says no to Cordish’s Madrid revisions

By - 24 July 2017

North American casino operator the Cordish Group has seen its hopes to bring its Live! casino brand to Madrid, dashed for a second time with the Community of Madrid rejecting the changes it had made to its original plans.

Cordish added a beach to its €2.2bn plans for a complex in Torres de Alameda alongside a 15 acre manmade lake. It also added a World Soccer Hall of Fame Museum to its initial plans along with cinemas, themed discos and a centre for e-sports.

However the government of Cristina Cifuentes reaffirmed in its refusal for the same reasons that it gave on the first occasion.

“There are almost no differences between the first and second projects. That is why we are consistent and we maintain our rejection,” explained Engracia Hidalgo, Minister of Economy and Finance of the Community of Madrid.

Cordish first proposed its idea to the Madrid regional government in November, saying the project would create 56,000 local jobs. However the government said it was not “viable from an economic and organisational point of view.”

Cordish said that 40 per cent of revenue would come from non-gaming according to the economic feasibility study presented to the Community of Madrid.

The regional government stressed that, despite the changes, the casino remained the base. Cordish argued that the surface area of the gaming floor only occupied 10 per cent of the total. However, the Community claimed that the business plan was more imprtant. “This is not measured by the surface, are but by the income. In this case, in the fifth year, the casino would represent 63 per cent of the income,” said Mr. Hidalgo.

Miguel Ángel García, Deputy Minister of Finance added: “If a similar proposal is repeated, the decision will be the same. With these conditions it is not feasible.”

Cordish had explained that initial investment could reach as much €2.2bn and could reach as much as €3bn if market conditions allow. If it goes ahead the project will generate 56,433 new jobs, will drive tourism in the area and generate billions in economic development for the region. As well as gaming the resort would also offer four and five star hotels which will offer 2,000 rooms and could eventually offer as many as 4,000. The resort would also include a Broadway type theatre, a permanent circus and acrobatic facility. There would also be a large area dedicated to live concerts, as well as a comedy club and 16 cinemas including an IMAX Theatre. The new resort also aimed to become an international shopping destination and would offer as many as 400 different shops.

During the first year of operation, which was planned for 2023, Cordish had predicted 7.7m visitors. It believed the resort would attract 677,000 tourists who will travel specifically to visit the new resort and who will then stay on in order to explore the region further. The company had also looked at the gaming demographic in the region and estimates that there are 4.3m potential players in Madrid while a total of 42m potential players would arrive via the local airport of Ifema.

However, the Administration explained that the rejection was based on the fact that the project had ‘no relevant, effective and lasting impact on economic, social and cultural development.’

It said there were deficiencies in the project’s feasibility studies adding that there were doubts Cordish would deliver its future phases of non-gaming elements.

It is not yet known if Madrid will allow Cordish to submit a third proposal.

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