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Raiders Owner Appears Willing to Gamble on Bringing Team to Vegas

Mark Davis looks to be going all in on a commitment to bring the silver and black of the Oakland Raiders to the Silver State of Nevada, pledging $500 million to help fund a new domed stadium in Las Vegas that would open in 2020.

The team’s current owner and son of former owner Al Davis appeared in Vegas on Thursday to meet with the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, which would ultimately need to approve the project and determine a way to pay the rest of the bill that totals more than $1 billion for the new stadium.

While this is certainly another step in the right direction, there is still a lot left to do in order to make the Las Vegas Raiders a true reality.

Keep in mind, Davis had made the same $500 million offer to Los Angeles for a new stadium, and the city decided to bring the St. Louis Rams instead. Of that $500 million, $200 million would come from an NFL loan used to fund stadium projects, and the rest of the money would likely trickle in from tax revenue. That is another major hurdle that needs to be passed since locals are not crazy about the idea of paying higher taxes to fund a stadium.

One tax proposal involves taking more money from tourists who stay at hotels and resorts in Vegas to help make up the difference. Currently, there is tax money being set aside to pay for a major convention center expansion, and the hope is that there will be a surplus, with more than enough left over to fund both projects.

The Raiders will remain in Oakland through at least next year with one-year options for the following two if needed. Oakland could also decide to build a new stadium to keep the team there, but that is a longshot at this point. The team’s current lease in Oakland costs $3.5 million, more than triple the previous amount paid of $975,000.

Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, has been pushing to bring the Raiders to Sin City and would also be responsible for helping fund the proposed stadium, which would seat 65,000 people and be built on a 42-acre area near UNLV.

The UNLV football team currently plays almost 10 miles away off campus at Sam Boyd Stadium and has been needing a new stadium as well.

Even if the proposal is approved during a special session of the Nevada Legislature in August, the NFL still holds all the cards and would need to get 23 team owners to also agree with the move.

Right now, Davis does not believe that will be a problem considering the league seems more open to the idea despite the fact that the stigma of sports betting remains strong and has played a role in previously preventing TV ads from running during the Super Bowl.

Davis might be gambling on Vegas as the future home of his team, but he needs support from the NFL so he can win his bet.

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