Well break out the Olde English and pass it around, we gotta celebrate! The city of Barcelona, realizing it has been used like a cheap trick to make Madrid put out, now tries to save face by officially rejecting the Eurovegas project just days before the project rejects it. Either way, it’s off to the plateau of Castille for Adelson and his lizard farm, and good riddance. Chug that malt! Chug it!
Hold on, we got some breaking news coming in… WHAT? Another project? Barcelona World? You’re kidding, right? Please tell me it’s not a casino… SIX CASINOS??
Okay, who’s going to the liquor store for some hard stuff?
Hell hath no fury like woman scorned. The jilted Barcelona has many suitors, albeit none as repellant as Adelson. A 100% Spanish consortium has come forth with the Barcelona World (BW) project, a scaled-down Eurovegas posing as a family resort, with six theme parks based on six countries: Chinerika, Russopa, Amerazil, Indistan, Vatican City and the Cayman Islands, each with its own casino. Hah! Eat that, lizard boy! We never wanted your stupid casino anyways, we were just being polite and shit.
Truth is the BW project does improve on the Eurovegas project in one key way: it isn’t located in Barcelona, not outside Barcelona, or even in the province of Barcelona. It is actually to be built near Tarragona, 120 kms down the coast, which is the capital of its own province and site of the Port Aventura theme park. This is good in many ways for many folks: for the ones who don’t want it in Barcelona, and for the folks in Tarragona that do because they already bet on the theme park model a decade ago and want to see it grow.
The proposed location is unused fallow land next to Port Aventura (as opposed to EV, which was to go on the fields of El Prat where the best artichokes in the world are grown), with a nearby airport and high-speed train station in Reus, plus the port of Tarragona which has a cruise liner dock, or a smooth 1:20 hour highway drive from Barcelona. Meaning all that needs to be done is to build it and let it roll, with minimal public investment. Meaning the Catalan gummint is licking its chops at the smell of fresh tax revenue source. Meaning hello Barcelona World.
Now, the cons. Cause you know you can’t have casinos without cons, right?
A minor con is the name of the project, which seeks to exploit brand Barcelona despite the fact it isn’t in Barcelona and really doesn’t have anything at all to do with Barcelona, except being in the same country. Down in Tarragona, while warm to the iniciative, they’re not so happy with the proposed name. They point out that Port Aventura has been quite successful without any regional branding, and that calling a place in Tarragona “Barcelona World” would be tantamount to false advertising. Most of all they worry the cruise liner passengers will think they’re in the city of Barcelona and confuse the Dragon Khan roller coaster with the Sagrada Familia. If you’ve ever spent any amount of time around cruise passengers, you will know this is no laughing matter.
Another minor con is the promoter behind the BW project, a dude by the name of Enrique Bañuelos who made his fortune during the brick boom years and ate up not a few investors on the way. When the crisis started in 2008, he went to seek fortune in Brazil, got peeled like a ripe tomato and snuck back to Spain, where he now re-emerges with BW and a bona fide bankster (president of La Caixa and owner of the terrain) by his side to prove he’s golden. The fact that he is known as “el rey del pelotazo” (the king of quick-rich schemes) in no way tempered the lascivious welcome he received from the Catalan gummint, which practically fell over itself to polish his knob at least as diligently as it did to Adelson’s henchmen this summer. Ol’ president Mas is getting calloused hands from so much stroking, but this is a small price to pay for being a true Catalan patriot, right?
The major con is a more fundamental issue, namely why the choice seems to boil down to Eurovegas or Casino World. Yes, I know tourism is a mainstay of the economy, and that things would be even worse if it weren’t for the folks who come visit us every year. And I understand the Casino World project (oops, looks like the name broke already…) would be attractive to the growing number of Russopan and Chinerikan tourists now jostling in line to visit the Sagrada Khan and the Dragon Familia.
But tourism is a sector which is subject to the conditionalities of the global economy, and if things start going queer in Chinerika and Russopa we will soon discover, to our chagrin, that tourism cannot be eaten. Or worse, we’ll discover it can. One way or another, we’ll give Adelson a run for his chips and make him rue the day he tried to seduce us with his sweet nothings, when he sees the crowds flocking to Casino World he’ll know that we get along just fine without him, of course we do.
Credits: Thanks to http://www.youtube.com/user/detidance for the video. High art!
bored tourists by http://www.flickr.com/photos/mooseknapper/2576929601/