A desert ‘Sin City’ like Las Vegas

Dec 18, 2007 5:48 AM

If a desert in Nevada can become world-known as "Sin City" then why can’t it happen for a desert area in Spain?

That’s the thinking of city officials in Zaragoza, the capital city of the Aragon regional government, located in the northeastern part of Spain. Joined by a consortium of foreign firms called International Leisure Development, the city is planning a massive $25 billion development that they hope will be operational by 2015.

Setting the 5,000-acre project in the Los Monegros desert region east of the city, Zaragoza officials have outlined a development that will include 32 casinos, five theme parks, 70 hotels, and, of course since this is Spain, a bullring.

Spanish media have described the project as "the second largest casino complex in the world after Las Vegas."

A draft agreement with International Leisure Development was signed by Aragon’s President Marcelino Iglesias who announced, "This is an important day for Aragon. Gran Scala is a great hope”¦we couldn’t let the opportunity pass."

Spain, one of the world’s top three tourist destinations, attracts just over 50 million visitors a year. The Gran Scala development is expected to attract some 25 visitors annually.

Construction is expected to begin on Sept. 16, following the closing of the 2008 World’s Fair being held in Zaragoza.

A high-speed railway connects Zaragoza to the country’s principal cities of Madrid and Barcelona.

As of the day of the announcement, there were no major U.S. gaming companies involved in the project but observers indicated that if the project goes forward as announced the gamers would follow.