So Las Vegas Has an NFL Team–Now What?

Posted on March 31, 2017

[toc]Now that the city has had a few days to process, citizens of Las Vegas probably have a lot of questions about the new NFL team. For many people, the idea of the Las Vegas Raiders is tough to wrap their minds around, especially since the team won’t be coming to Nevada until 2020.

Some questions are not settled just yet. Others are pretty clear cut. Here is the rundown on Nevada’s first pro football team with all the answers to the many questions surrounding the Raiders.

Are they the Oakland Raiders or the Las Vegas Raiders?

For now, the Raiders will remain the Oakland Raiders. Though the deal is done to relocate to Vegas, the team is staying put until the 2020 season. Las Vegas needs to build a new stadium to house an NFL team and fan base. As a result, the Raiders are staying in Northern California for at least two more years.

The third year is a bit up in the air, as the team has no deal in place for the 2019 season. Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas is not a viable temporary home, so the solution does not appear to be in Vegas.

Raiders owner Mark Davis prefers to keep the team in Oakland for 2019, but it will be up to the city whether or not they are ready to part ways with the team before the team parts ways with them.

Until the team moves to Vegas, Davis says the name stays the same.

Am I going to be able to bet on Raiders games at Vegas casinos?

The NFL historically opposes sports betting. Part of the reason it took so long for Vegas to get any professional athletic teams is because the leagues were concerned about operating in the same city as legal sports wagering. Now that a team is coming, it does appear people in Vegas will still be able to bet on Raiders games.

For many years, Nevada bettors could not wager on UNLV or University of Nevada sporting events. It was only in 2000 that college games in the Silver State went on the board. Even after that change though, Las Vegas sporting events involving the major leagues were not available to wager on.

In recent years, the rules about wagering on events in the area have gotten lax. College athletics frequently host events in Las Vegas, like the annual Las Vegas Bowl football game and the PAC-12 and Mountain West basketball tournaments. All of the games are available to wager on.

The NFL appears to be following in the footsteps of college sports and working with betting in Vegas rather than fighting against it.

The league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, told ESPN there is no imminent plan to fight wagering on the Raiders.

“We’ll study it further, but I think at this point in time that’s not our position,” he explained, adding, “in large part because you have the regulatory environment there, which actually could be beneficial in this case.”

Industry insiders think the team will be beneficial for the Nevada sports betting industry. Veteran sportsbook managers are already predicting a big uptick in business.

Who is paying for this $1.9 billion stadium?

The entire reason the Raiders are moving is because Oakland could not provide a stadium up to the team’s standards. Las Vegas promised all that and more with a $1.9 billion state-of-the-art venue.

The bill for this pricey new project will be split between taxpayers, the NFL, and Bank of America financing.

In November, state legislators approved a stadium plan funded by $750 million of hotel room taxes. The plan drew quite a bit of criticism, but advocates point to the city’s unusual status as a tourist destination to justify why the state’s investment in the stadium would pay for itself.

Here is the breakdown of stadium funding:

  • $750 million in taxpayer funds
  • $500 million from the NFL
  • $650 in BoA financing

Is Sheldon Adelson going to be a Raiders owner?

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson pledged $650 million for the new NFL stadium last year. He withdrew his offer shortly after the stadium measure passed the state legislature though.

Currently, no casinos have a fiscal involvement in the stadium project. Nor does any casino own a piece of the Raiders. Davis still owns the team and there are no plans for any change in ownership.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for WSOP.com. A graduate of the University of Southern California and Indiana University, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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