(Fixes lede to correct Leven's title)


The Madrid suburb of Alcorcon has been chosen as the site of the large-scale EuroVegas casino and resort project, Las Vegas Sands Corp. President and COO Michael Leven and Community of Madrid President Ignacio Gonzalez announced here Friday.

With an estimated total cost of 17 billion euros (some $22.7 billion), it will represent the biggest private investment in Europe's history, they said.

The first phase is to be built at a cost of 6 billion euros ($8 billion) by 2017, while the entire project is to be concluded by 2022.

Gonzalez said Las Vegas Sands representatives pledged in a meeting Friday that the casino operator would cover 35 percent of the investment cost and assured him the Madrid autonomous government would have access to financing for the remaining 65 percent.

Las Vegas Sands says it expects EuroVegas will attract some 11 million tourists over 15 years and estimates those visitors will spend some 15.5 billion euros ($20.7 billion).

The project is to eventually comprise 12 hotels with 3,000 guestrooms each and six casinos and mainly attract visitors from Western and Eastern Europe.

Barcelona was competing with Madrid for the project, which was coveted because of the 260,000 direct and indirect jobs it is expected to create.

Spain is currently mired in recession for the second time in the past four years and its unemployment rate exceeds 26 percent. EFE