Las Vegas Sands, the casino company controlled by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, has abandoned a plan to build a mega resort in Spain for more than US$30 billion and will focus on Asia instead.
"We do not see a path in which the criteria needed to move forward with this large-scale development can be reached," Adelson said.
The decision by Sands, the world's largest casino operator, ends prospects for a development that proponents said would have helped improve Spain's ailing economy and cut its 26 per cent jobless rate.
The project would have created Europe's largest resort, dubbed Eurovegas, in the Madrid suburb of Alcorcon.
Adelson's U-turn came after a review by the Spanish government of his request for an exemption from a smoking ban, as well as his financial demands.
According to Spanish officials, they included insistence that the government guarantee financial compensation for any future changes in the country's gambling laws that could have an adverse impact on EuroVegas, as well as granting EuroVegas a special rate of gambling tax.
Spain's review also included discussions with the European Commission to determine whether making such concessions would violate European antitrust rules.
Sands had proposed a giant resort that would operate 12 hotels with 36,000 rooms, six casinos with 18,000 slot machines, and three golf courses.
But it had also remained evasive about how it would finance the project, saying its own contribution would be up to 35 per cent of the equity of EuroVegas.