The Granada antigambling lobby has predictably set out its stall against the construction of a new casino venue in the city. However, the city council argues that the project will generate 200 jobs and “hook in” tourists.
In the Andalusian city of Granada, the city council has approved a new casino venue with the licence tender due to begin in the coming weeks.
It is predicted that the project will generate 200 direct jobs in addition to lending momentum to the city’s economic regeneration.
Granada’s city council aims to open the licence tender within the first fifteen days of March and hopes to have completed the process within a period of three months.
The city cabinet member for Finance and Administration, Maria Jesus Montero, explained that the possibility to expand the city’s evening entertainment options would be a ‘hook’ that would encourage tourists to extend their stay in Granada.
“We hope that there will be many attractive proposals for the city and we will choose the one that best meets the conditions of the tender in terms of both employment opportunities and investment in Granada and its metropolitan area,” she stated.
The future venue will be situated within 30km of the city, will include entertainment spaces, food and beverage options and will be over 700 square meters, while its gaming floor will need to be capable of hosting 500 people.
“We want visitors to Granada to have the possibility to enjoy a broader night-time leisure offering,” added Montero.
According to the estimate made by the regional government, the Junta de Andalusia, during its first year of operation the casino could receive around 50,000 visits.
Montero emphasised that the five casinos that currently operate in Andalusia registered a total of 350,000 visits during 2016 and generated E191m.
The councillor indicated that the gambling sector represents 1.16 percent of Andalusian GDP and generates a total of 8,000 direct jobs in the community.
The secretary general for Granada’s Federation of Hospitality and Tourism, Antonio Garcia, stated that the city’s hospitality sector had always claimed that a casino would provide an important “tourism hub” for the region.
Garcia suggests that the economic and tourist injection for Granada that the casino represents is precisely what regional entrepreneurs have been lobbying for three decades given the capacity of these types of establishments to attract middle and upperclass tourists with greater purchasing power.
Predictably there has been political opposition to the project, with the spokeswoman for municipal group Vamos Granada, Marta Gutierrez, decrying the decision as “not good news at all.”
“We oppose the construction of a casino because we defend a model of city that is incompatible with [casino gambling],” she said.
According to Gutierrez, the arrival of the casino to the province is based on “the false premise” that it will increase tourism and the boost local economy.
“We doubt the tourist interest offered by the project because it is not the tourism that we want for Granada,” she declared.
There have been several prior attempts to bring a casino to the city over the years, in December 2003 former mayor Jose Torres Hurtado, announced his intention to provide municipal land for such a project, which saw Gregorio Lopez, owner of hotel group El Capricho, put forward a tender proposal.
Prior to this, in the late eighties, businessman Jose Antonio Murado put forward the Cármenes de la Muralla, near the Murcia highway, as an option to host a casino.