he bad moments of the firm will have consequences in its most emblematic European project: El Reino de Don Quijote, in Ciudad Real, a casino identical to Caesars Palace of Las Vegas, with five four and five-star hotels, a shopping center, an Asian seaside resort, three golf courses and 9,000 houses.
So far there is a golf course and a little restaurant. There is no other development in the 1,250 hectares that comprises the project.
The central issue of the project is the casino, inspired in Caesars Palace Las Vegas, but Harrah's has already announced that its construction, in which, according to some sources, the firm has invested 38 million euros, came to a standstill. The firm has all local licenses but it does not have all the necessary funding.
In fact, the company, which is the second most important of the entertainment sector in the United Stated, just behind Disney, has invested 3 billion euros in swaps, financial tools affected by the crisis. Besides, it does not find buyers for the 1,5 billion euros of debt that has put on sale, and last week, a report said that casino incomes have fallen a 26% in Las Vegas un 26% last year, due to the crisis.
The US multinational signed an agreement in 2005 with Spanish promoters of El Reino de Don Quijote, among them, Avantis and Caja Castilla-La Mancha, to participate in the society and raise one of its top-level casinos 200 kilometres from Madrid.
Before the local summer, the inauguration of the complex was scheduled for 2010, with a total investment of 700 million euros and the creation of 11,000 employments in Castilla-La Mancha. However, none of the big performances have started.
Sources close to Harrah’s say that the suspension is due to the economic situation, but remark that the firm is committed to the project and the casino will finally be developed.
Together with the other great project of the province, the Central Airport of Ciudad Real, which will start operating soon, local businessmen expected El Reino to stimulate investment and the arrival of tourists.
Arturo Mesa, President of CEOE of Ciudad Real, still does not lose hope. “It is a serious project that counts will all the support of the administrations and the required licenses. Together with the airport, it is a vital project for the province, that, sooner or later, will be performed”, said Mesa.