Raiders Close in on Vegas Move as NFL Vote Expected Next Week
Posted on: March 24, 2017, 05:00h.
Last updated on: March 24, 2017, 01:04h.
Optimism is building for the Raiders’ proposed move to Las Vegas, with some sections of the press reporting that NFL owners could vote on the move as early as Monday.
The owners are scheduled to begin a four-day-long series of meetings in Phoenix on Sunday night, where the issue is expected to be high on the agenda.
One owner anonymously told ESPN’s Dan Graziano that a vote next week is “more probable than not.”
There are also the rumors that the move has the required backing. It needs to be approved by 24 of the 32 league’s owners to get the green light from the NFL and an “ownership source” told MMQB’s Albert Breer this week that he believed around 27 or 28 would support the plan.
Another “high-level” contact told Breer that if league gets a sense that that the proposal might not have the required support, the vote would likely to be pushed to May.
There are still a few wrinkles to be ironed out, such the exact location of the proposed stadium that would become the team’s new home, which is a biggie. But the funding issue has been solved.
The Raiders have the backing of the Bank of America, which is committed to filling a $650 million Sheldon Adelson-shaped hole.
The Las Vegas Sands chairman and CEO, who had been so instrumental in the push to bring the Raiders to Vegas, pulled his money out of the venture on 31 January, offended that the team had taken a proposed stadium lease agreement to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority without informing the Adelson family. Goldman Sachs quickly followed Adelson out the door, plunging the project into uncertainty.
Meanwhile, the Nevada legislature has approved an increase on Vegas hotel taxes in order to shoulder the $750 million it’s pledged to help build the $1.9 billion stadium. The Raiders themselves have pledged another $500 million towards the project.
NFL No Longer Fears Vegas
The NFL appears largely to have overcome its view of Vegas as a sports betting hub that could have a corrupting influence on the game. Sports betting has long been anathema to the league, but there is an acceptance that, in the digital age, Las Vegas does not have a monopoly on wagering.
“From a gambling standpoint? That’s a joke to even say that’d be a problem,” one AFC owner told Beers. “That was an issue decades ago. Now? Sports gambling is going to be legal. We might as well embrace it and become part of the solution, rather than fight it. It’s in everyone’s best interests for it to be above-board.