Why is it that none of my friends gamble and yet so many people do? Probably because my friends are intelligent people who have long discovered that betting in casinos is an idiotic activity that, given enough tim,e will lead to the dwindling of your savings. And yet there seem to be millions (if not billions) of people interested in gambling and, as a result, yesterday Aristocrat Technologies, represented in Europe by Nicholas Khin, announced that 25 million of these simple minded people are expected to go every year to lose money at a 2000 hectares 32 casino gambling paradise that his company, the second largest gambling group in the world, will build in Aragon, Spain.

This park is expected to be Europe´s Las Vegas, the second largest gambling destination in the world. It will have the same idiotic architecture as Las Vegas, similar historic themes with the Egyptian being a perennial favorite. Among the curiosities one of the theme parks there, Spyland, is centered around the theme of spying, another mostly useless activity that costs the world billions of dollars and few have been able to prove its worth (e.g. with all the spying resources of the United States, Bush Sr did not know that Saddam Hussein was going to invade Kuwait until he did it). Another one will be the typical gigantic water park so the kids can splash while dad loses his savings.

On one side, my libertarian instincts tell me that investments like this should be allowed since they make the economy grow, generate tens of thousands of jobs and if people want to be miserable so be it, but, on the other my environmental and overall ethical views make me feel that flying 25 million people throwing tons of gases in the atmosphere so they can lose their hard earned savings is just wrong.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

No Comments

Martin on December 14, 2007  · 

I know you don’t like gambling. But it’s not so idiotic business if it moves so much money and gives work to so many people.
There is a demand for this as there is a demand for drugs and for any other product. The difference is that gaming is a legal business if you get the right licenses. Ethically I think it’s neutral, since each person decides if you want to waste your money or not.

Knowing you travel a lot and know quite a lot about the differences between US culture and Europe.
Do you think that here it will have the same success as Vegas ?

3.0 rating

Gustavo L on December 15, 2007  · 

Martin, I agree with Martin’s post.

I’m sure your posting was not intended to look down on people with judgment. I also would like to think I have smart friends. But, some of them do like to gamble when they visit a city like Las Vegas.

3.0 rating

Elliott on December 15, 2007  · 

In June 1955, Life Magazine had a cover story, “Las Vegas – Is Boom Overextended.” Obviously, the answer should’ve been NO as 36 million visited last year. Thanks to the gambling & gamblers the rest of us get great restaurants & shows in a Disney theme park for adults. One would think the architecture was to give homebound Americans a view of European landmarks except that one hears mostly European visitors in Vegas due to the current sale price of the US dollar. The change in Vegas in the last 15 years [reducing gambling revenues as a percentage of total revenues [hotel, food, retail, etc] was a reaction to increased competition in the US from Indian casinos in Connecticut, Florida and elsewhere [New Mexico has 19, one for each tribe] & non-Indian casinos such as Atlantic City, New Orleans & Mississippi. They don’t have the same caliber of entertainment & probably won’t be able to due to Vegas’ proximity to Hollywood.

3.0 rating

Neil Dobbins on December 16, 2007  · 


I completely agree with you that this isn’t the sort of thing Aragon or Spain needs. That said though, if a Euroepan Vegas was ever going to be created, Spain is the most logical choice. It already has millions of visitors from all over Europe flooding to it’s beach resorts and historic cities. This gambling metropolis will add another year-round dimension to Spain’s tourist appeal.

3.0 rating

neoyorkina on December 16, 2007  · 

For a society that hates the U.S. so much, it’s funny how much Spain wants to imitate and copy it. Are there no original ideas out there? Create something totally unique. Build a destination that isn’t a replica of something that already exists in the world.

3.0 rating

Francesco on December 16, 2007  · 

Savvy words! However, to prohibit an idiotic activity makes that idiotic activity even more appealing, so the effect at the end is the opposite. It’s the same with drugs. You prohibit drugs and many idiotic people start using them even more.

The only way is to accept the legality of gambling and hope that making people more educated the right choices will be made by each one.

For sure, I have to tell you that in Europe there are a lower amount of idiotic people than in US (I’m not generalizing, just on average). So Aragon won’t be as successful as Las vegas

3.0 rating

Fernando on December 17, 2007  · 

Martin, I would not worry about the project. As far as I know it is just smoke. They don’t have the money, they only say they will get it from investors… big difference.

Also, I don’t think a concept like Vegas can be successful in Europe. Here gambling is legal everywhere and there is already a sexually tolerant legislation in almost every country, so there is no sense in going to Monegros to do what you already can do at home. Today Vegas is not just that, but that was the origin of its success and the phenomenon can’t be explained without it.

3.0 rating

Martin on December 17, 2007  · 

I didn’t know that they were more idiotic people in the US than in Europe. What I know for sure that there is a high amount of idiotic people in my office.
There is any way to measure the overall intellectual coefficient apart of seeing how many Casinos they are in the country ?

3.0 rating

no_disclosed on December 17, 2007  · 

And the football? It’s not the same?¿!!!!! A bussiness to take money from people without god.

3.0 rating

Martin Varsavsky on December 17, 2007  · 

Martin, tocayo,

I hope that Aristocrat fails in Europe. Of course there are people over here who like gambling. But i do hope that there are just less idiots willing to be lured by a scheme so simple….

3.0 rating

Uri L. on December 18, 2007  · 

well, I share the same detest to this industry – although it is based solely on the human nature. The fantasies business (gambling, adult) is always prospering, whether in the legal or illegal areas.

3.0 rating

Martin on December 20, 2007  · 

Well tocayo,
to be sincere with you from time to time I do bet in sports websites, so the post was hurting my vanity, because I don’t think betting makes one stupid if done in a smart way (without being vicious and without getting addicted to it)
I also work, like I told you in Menorca, in a European Bingos gaming company so I understand how the business works. And yeah, completely agree with you, it’s a scheme so simple.
It’s Like “sex sells” it will always work.

3.0 rating

Leave a Comment

Español / English

Subscribe to e-mail bulletin:
Recent Tweets