While Sheldon Adelson toys with plans to build mega casinos in Spain, protestors in Barcelona and Madrid lash out at the idea of Eurovegas in their backyards. There’s the potential crime, the addiction, the prostitution, the possible reversal of an indoor smoking ban and the architectural clash in the urban areas.
But it’s also Old World vs. New World’s crazy uncle, contempt for reckless capitalism, the all-veneer–and-no-substance model of a cheesy travel destination that celebrates the chucking of cultural values. Gaudi vs. gaudy. The Spaniards, of course, aren’t alone in this. Few people want Las Vegas showing up in their town or city. They love to come here, but want it to know its place. We’re the girl you take home for a night, not the one you marry.
It doesn’t overwhelmingly matter to them that the project could create more than 200,000 jobs in a country where there’s 23 percent unemployment (the highest in the EU). Vegas-style casino jobs aren’t really what the residents strive for, say critics of the plan. Apparently, Spaniards have different standards. They prefer diamonds to cubic zirconia and poo-poo a man who spent $1.5 billion to build a pretend Venice in a parched desert. Could someone please pass me another wine cooler?