Casino Executives Have Strong Presence on Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board

Posted on: December 1, 2016, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: December 1, 2016, 10:05h.

casino executives Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board
Oakland Raiders fans might hate Las Vegas, but casino executives love the storied NFL franchise for its projected impact on gaming revenue should the team relocate to Sin City. (Image: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

Casino executives are expected to make up one-third of the Clark County Stadium Authority Board (SAB) when the nine-person panel is finalized at its first meeting next week. While locals have mixed feelings on bringing a professional NFL franchise to Las Vegas, the majority of casino representatives seem to support the proposal to relocate the Oakland Raiders to Sin City.

Increased tourism, increased hotel occupancies, and ideally increased gaming revenues are all at the center of the casino resort’s wishes to build a $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium near the Strip. Better yet, the project won’t cost them a dime.

One of Governor Brian Sandoval’s (R) three SAB appointments was Resorts International President Bill Hornbuckle. The Clark County Commission named former Las Vegas mayor and current Caesars Entertainment EVP of Government Relations Jan Jones Blackhurst to the committee.

Two final spots will be decided on when the Stadium Authority meets on December 5. Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson, who is putting up $650 million of his own money towards to build, has requested someone from his organization sit on the board.

That would presumably be Andy Abboud, the Sands government relations vice president who is also one of Adelson’s closest men.

Along with Adelson’s financial commitment, the proposed stadium would be built using $500 million from Raiders owner Mark Davis, and $750 million in tax money generated from increasing the hotel occupancy tax at Clark County hotels.

Betting on Sports Betting

Davis is expected to formally file for relocation on January 1, 2017, the day after the regular NFL season ends. He would then need at least 24 of the league’s 32 owners to approve his one-way ticket to Vegas.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would prefer the Raiders stay in Oakland. Among his reasoning are fears over Nevada’s prevalent sports betting, an industry he says could jeopardize the integrity of football.

Casinos are ready to welcome the Raiders with open arms, but aren’t willing to fold on their sports betting. Westgate SuperBook director Jay Kornegay said recently that Raiders games would stay on the books regardless if they’re playing in Oakland of steps from Las Vegas Boulevard.

More Sports Fans, More Sports Bets

Assuming the Raiders can continue their strong play (they’re currently 9-2 and sit atop the AFC West), 65,000 football fans will descend on the Vegas Strip at least eight times a year.

Applied Analysis, a Las Vegas-based economic analytics firm, projects that the average stadium visitor will also spend $141 on gambling. Paired with the Raiders’ eight regular season home games, and 38 other “sizable events” hosted at the stadium, and it’s no wonder that casino executives are licking their chops.

The Applied Analysis study released in October hyped the stadium plan and claimed Clark County stands to gain upwards of $22 million in new local tax dollars each year.

Sandoval appointed Steve Hill as Stadium Authority Board chairman. Hill headed the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee when it recommended to the state to direct $750 million in public funding towards the project.

Hill recently told the Review-Journal he plans to recommend hiring Applied Analysis Principal Jeremy Aguero as a temporary SAB staff member.