A huge gambling and leisure complex spread over 750
hectares will be built in Alcorcon, near Madrid, officials and the
Las Vegas Sands corporation said Friday.
Euro Las Vegas, which will be financed by US gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson, is being billed as the biggest in Europe.
Construction is scheduled to begin at the end of this year, and the complex is to cost an estimated 16.9 billion euros (22 billion dollars) over 13 years.
The first phase - including casinos, hotels, shopping and conference centres - will be finished in 2017, Madrid regional Prime Minister Ignacio Gonzalez said.
Madrid and Barcelona vied for the project, which planners say will create more than 250,000 jobs in crisis-hit Spain.
But critics say it goes against Spain's plans to invest in high-tech rather than service sectors, and could attract criminals and prostitutes.
Madrid authorities have also come under criticism for their willingness to grant Adelson tax exemptions and to relax legislation regulating gambling offences.
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