9 May

Oakland to Vegas, Baby! NFL Owner looking to rebrand Las Vegas Raiders

Las Vegas RaidersThey say there’s nothing you can’t do in Las Vegas. The City of Sin opens the doors to seemingly every possible form of entertainment, legitimate or otherwise. However, there is one thing you won’t find here, and that’s a professional sports team. If Mark Davis gets his way, that’s could change very soon.

The Las Vegas Raiders has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? Davis, the NFL team’s owner, sure seems to believe so, but officials with the NFL might disagree. Analysts are already raising the issue that a professional football team in Sin City could result in a spike in sports betting corruption.

On the one hand, it wouldn’t be too hard to lure free agents to the team. Just imagine all of the tantalizing enticements the Las Vegas Raiders could use to promote a contract. Risque burlesque shows, wining and dining at swank, celebrity chef restaurants, stays in the most expensive suites (last I checked, a villa at the Bellagio was $8k/night).

We’re talking high class persuasion!

Sports Betting Corruption Inevitable?

But what’s to stop an NFL player from stumbling into one of the myriad sportsbook on The Strip and placing a bet on his own team? Or worse, their upcoming opponent?

Sure, there are strict rules in place to thwart sports betting by professional athletes. Then again, there are strict rules against the use of steroids and other recreational drugs, but every week we hear ESPN‘s Sports Center telling of another player who’s been ‘penalized’ for such activities.

Even if players were disciplined enough to stay out of the sportsbooks, what happens if a seedy individual with deep pockets guarantees them a huge payoff to fumble the ball, miss a tackle or drop a pass?

Yes, the risk of such activity exists anywhere, but would the threat be higher if the Raiders come to Las Vegas, delivering them into the midst of a proverbial den of iniquity? And even if they all managed to stay on the straight and narrow in terms of gambling, we’d at least be likely to see more hungover athletes taking the field – if not the Las Vegas Raiders, perhaps their opponents who flew in for the game and succumbed to the allure of Vegas’ infamous nightlife.

Odds on Raiders Future in Las Vegas

Mark Davis has made numerous trips to Las Vegas in recent months to discuss the possibility of bringing his Raider’s to the city. There’s a proposal on the table that calls for a $1.4 billion stadium, with the ever-popular retractable dome roof, to be built near The Strip.

NY Daily News reported that Davis is willing to put up $500 million of that himself, while Sands Hotel and Majestic Reality are ready to contribute another $150 million. That leaves $750 million, and – if it happens – guess who will be picking up that tab? Why, the tourists, of course.

The proposal calls for an increase in the current hotel tax of less than 1% to cover the remainder of the stadium’s cost. So long as Nevada tax-payers aren’t personally footing the bill, the 24 votes needed to approve the plan shouldn’t be too hard to get.

The biggest obstacle now is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He’s been staunchly opposed to Las Vegas for years, not just as a team location, but as the destination of any NFL-branded event. Goodell’s position may be softening, though, according to recent statements on Fox Sports where he said, “ultimately, that’s a decision of the ownership.”