The Oakland Raiders continue their efforts to find a new stadium, and lately they have been looking strongly at Las Vegas. There is a lot to be worked out, with public financing issues, gambling concerns, and issues of fan support all factoring into the debate.
NFL owners have been getting asked about the Raiders potential move, and while opinions vary about the viability of Las Vegas, most owners seem to understand that gambling is not really a significant concern anymore. Well, it's not a concern in Las Vegas any more than it's a concern online or in the numerous casinos around the country.
MMQB NFL reporter Jenny Vrentas recently polled a handful of owners to get their thoughts on two issues. She asked them, 1) Would they vote yes to relocating a team to Las Vegas, and 2) Do they think attitudes have changed within the league with regard to gambling. Jed York was one of the owners she spoke with. Here are his answers to the two questions.
1. "I will wait to see, but if there is something that provides all the resources necessary, they go through all the steps and it is a project that works, I’d be supportive of the Raiders getting a new stadium anywhere. I know the Raiders have worked tirelessly to try to get a stadium done. It’s been difficult trying to move and have much progress in Oakland. They have been very upfront that they would like to stay, and if not, they need to make sure that they find a long-term home and long-term solution."
2. "I think the stigma about Las Vegas is much different today than where it was in the past.”
York has spoken on the issue of gambling in the past. During an interview on "This Week In Startups," he addressed the issue of gambling, daily fantasy, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver's comments in support of gambling and sports. Regulation on gambling, as we see in Nevada sportsbooks, allows for tracking if there is shadiness afoot. It's not a perfect system, but it's going to do a better job than all the illegal sports betting going on out there. And thankfully Jed is at least clued into that reality.
As for that "provides all the resources" comment? Well, there is talk Las Vegas and/or Nevada would be pitching in upwards of $750 million for the stadium. Initially there was talking of diverting existing tourism tax money to the stadium. Tourism taxes are things like hotel and rental car taxes. Now, there is some chatter it would be a hike in the tourism taxes. I think that would be a little more reasonable, but it is not surprising the big casinos and hotels are pushing back on it. MGM Resorts International is pushing for any money to go toward renovating and expanding the city's convention center. It's not going to be a quick process figuring all this out.