Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis seemingly has some interest in Las Vegas as a potential home for his National Football League franchise. There are a number of problems that Davis is facing in terms of his future home whether it is in Oakland, Las Vegas or San Antonio but legalized gambling in the state of Nevada is not going to be a hurdle. Getting a billion dollars or so to build a 21st century state of the art NFL facility is the major obstacle because there probably won’t be the kind of public funding that Davis or any NFL owner would want in any of those cities.
Davis has a lease with Oakland for 2016 but is free to take his team elsewhere once the lease is exhausted. He has been talking with Oakland officials but so far there is nothing that he wants there. Davis has toured San Antonio but there is nothing there but an old domed stadium that never did work out in the city. And there is Las Vegas which also doesn’t have a stadium that would meet his needs. Davis probably would not be hindered in Las Vegas by gambling and if the National Football League has a problem with gambling and the purity of the NFL product with Nevada gaming laws that’s just too bad. The NFL wants to desperately be a player in London, England and guess what is available in London, England and Scotland. Legalized gambling, sports books everywhere. The NFL’s gambling position seems to change by market. The league fought sportsbooks in Delaware and New Jersey and courts backed up the league. New Jersey voters said yes to a sportsbook, but the league prevailed. If there is a Las Vegas proposal that makes sense, Davis is going to be able to take it without a problem. The NFL is all about money even if the league allegedly doesn’t fancy sportsbooks and casinos.
Republished with permission Evan Weiner for the Politics of Sports Business.