Oakland Raiders’ Odds of Moving to Las Vegas Increasing as Owners Reportedly Warm to Sin City

Posted on: May 14, 2016, 06:12h. 

Last updated on: May 14, 2016, 06:25h.

Oakland Raiders Mark Davis Las Vegas
Mark Davis wants to move his Oakland Raiders franchise to Las Vegas, but he’ll need three-fourths support from his NFL owner colleagues like Jerry Jones, the Cowboys boss seen here on the right. (Image: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Before the Oakland Raiders can become the Las Vegas Raiders, 24 of the NFL’s 32 owners would need to sign off on the relocation, and while the chances of that happening was previously thought to be slim due to Sin City’s legalized sports betting market, the accord is reportedly gaining support.

The NFL has long opposed locating a team in the nation’s gambling capital due to its highly active sportsbooks. The league feels that a franchise positioned next to millions of dollars being wagered on games could jeopardize its self-professed “integrity” of football, even though the NFL has certainly not been without its fair share of scandals in recent years.

Asked in March about the NFL’s stance on putting a team in Vegas, Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters, “There are several cities that have a tremendous interest in the Raiders. I’m hopeful also that Oakland will be one of those and that we can avoid any relocation. . . Those are ultimately decisions about where they go and the impact that the potential gambling that we’d have to deal with.”

At least one owner has already reportedly begun dealing with the possibility of a team playing its home games in America’s largest gambling destination.

“I think it would be a tough sell, but I don’t think it’s impossible,” a NFL owner speaking on anonymity told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. “I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed . . . If it’s between Las Vegas and being stuck in an awful stadium, there is nowhere else to go.”

Alternative Motives

Backed by Las Vegas Sands billionaire Sheldon Adelson and Majestic Realty, Raiders owner Mark Davis is proposing a “preliminary” stadium budget of $1.4 billion. Davis would put up $500 million, Adelson is on the hook for $150 million, and the rest would be generated through hotel tax occupancy fees that would have otherwise likely went to renovate the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).

MGM is against using taxes to build a football stadium on the proposed 42-acre plot next to McCarran International Airport, and one doesn’t need to look far to understand why. MGM is a 50 percent stakeholder in the newly constructed T-Mobile Arena, a venue that would compete for similar acts during the NFL offseason.

But Adelson has his motives too. Numerous Vegas insiders believe the casino tycoon is more than willing to spend $150 million on a stadium and direct taxes away from updating the LVCC to boost his own revenue at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

Business as Usual

If the NFL does decide to permit Davis to move to Vegas, don’t expect any consolations from the gambling industry. “You come to Vegas, you take Vegas the way Vegas is,” MGM Resorts oddsmakers Jay Rood told the Los Angeles Times this week.

Several bookmakers across the Strip have already publicly stated that they would not concede to any wish to remove certain games from the boards. Though the NFL hasn’t stated it would request sportsbooks to do so, Vegas is apparently readying its defense for the NFL brass should the owners approve the relocation.