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Will the Oakland Raiders Move to Las Vegas? It’s Not a Sure Bet

16 Nov, 2016

By: Michael Popke

You may not want to place your bets just yet on whether the Oakland Raiders will relocate to Las Vegas.

Despite the fact that legislation to provide $750 million in public funding through tourist taxes to a $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium “sailed at warp speed” through the Nevada Legislature and onto Gov. Brian Sandoval’s desk — where he promptly signed it — convincing 24 of the NFL’s 32 owners won’t be so easy. (Raiders owner Mark Davis already has made it quite clear he’d love to relocate to the desert in time for the 2019 season. The Raiders have contract options for each of the net two seasons at 50-year-old O.co Coliseum.)

Plus, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t completely sold on the move, and a vote by the owners won’t likely happen until mid-2017, according to some sources.

Long verboten in the eyes of the world’s most powerful professional sports league because of its connection with gambling and the potential for game-fixing, Las Vegas is now seen as a rapidly evolving sports and entertainment destination for families, according to The New York Times.

But as Sports Illustrated’s MMQB.com points out: “Gambling strikes at the heart of the league’s ‘integrity’ mantra, an argument the NFL is using in its vigorous opposition of legalized sports betting in New Jersey. The NFL and its teams are a contradiction in this area: They accept advertising and sponsorship money from casinos, lotteries and Daily Fantasy kingpins FanDuel and DraftKings. And although the NFL is not an equity partner in either company — unlike the other major sports leagues — Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft are early investors in DraftKings. The NFL spins a conflicting web on the subject of gambling.”

The Las Vegas Sun published a detailed report about the potential economic impact of building a stadium and bringing the Raiders to the city:

Sports & Leisure International estimated that a Las Vegas stadium hosting 26 events could produce a total economic output of $785.6 million and $49.4 million in new tax revenue yearly.

Separately, a sports economist working with UNLV estimated that the total economic output of a stadium hosting 20 events would be $908.9 million, and that it would generate $61.7 million in new tax revenue annually.

Meanwhile, the San Diego Chargers eventually could end up sharing a lucrative, league-approved stadium deal with the newly relocated Los Angeles Rams.

For now, though, “[Chargers owner Dean] Spanos doesn’t want that, at least not yet,” according to the USA Today. “This year so far his team has spent about $12 million to push a Nov. 8 ballot measure for a new $1.8 billion stadium and convention center in downtown San Diego. If two-thirds of San Diego voters approve a hotel room tax hike to help build it, the Chargers would stay put.”

We have not heard the last of any of these stories.

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