Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson said Thursday he wants to create a $20 billion "mini Las Vegas Strip" in Spain.
Adelson, in Singapore for the opening of a new entertainment feature at the $5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands, told news organizations the casino company is eyeing Spain as its next foreign gaming destination.
Adelson said the company was looking at a "$20 billion project" in either Madrid or Barcelona. He said Las Vegas Sands is now in talks with local officials.
"We are seriously looking at doing what we call a 'Strip,' which is essentially a mini Las Vegas," Adelson was quoted by TheStreet.com. "We are looking to do that in Europe and we are sort of zeroing in on Spain."
Adelson said the Spanish project could have 20,000 hotel rooms, convention and meeting space, and retail. He plans to meet with contractors and is assembling a team of architects and builders that would construct several resorts at once.
"Euro-Vegas has been talked about for many years by various gaming interests with no movement to date," Union Gaming Group principal Bill Lerner told investors. "Las Vegas Sands is by far the most credible and capable to pursue such a project."
Lerner said Las Vegas Sands would need land concessions from the Spanish government and quick approval of building plans.
Adelson said a project in Spain would create 180,000 jobs.
The company operates The Venetian and Palazzo on the Strip but has focused much of its attention toward Asia over the past two years while the Las Vegas market recovers from the recession.
Adelson also told the press in Singapore that Las Vegas Sands wanted additional land to expand the Marina Bay Sands, which opened in April.
He said the company will bid for any government land that comes up for auction. He said the interest in meeting and conventions business was much stronger than the company had anticipated.
The Marina Bay Sands has more than 1 million square feet of meeting space and 2,650 hotel rooms. Company officials have said additional land could be used to expand the property's hotel business, as well as the convention market.
Las Vegas Sands operates three hotel-casinos in Macau, which accounted for more than half of the company's $2.02 billion in revenues during the fourth quarter. The company restarted construction last year on 6,400 hotel rooms spread out over four projects on Macau's Cotai Strip. The developments are expected to begin opening later this year or in early 2012.
The Singapore development was responsible for 27 percent of the company's quarterly revenues, and Adelson has said the model, which integrates gaming with hotels, retail, conventions, dining and other entertainment, can be transplanted into other markets.
"We're very seriously considering this, we're very actively pursuing this," Adelson told The Associated Press about Spain. "There's no reason why we can't do it."
Contact reporter Howard Stutz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3871.