Adelson pulls Raiders stadium cash

Adelson pulls Raiders stadium cash

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
News puts in doubt NFL team’s Vegas move

Las Vegas Sands boss and all-round Vegas big shot Sheldon Adelson caused a shock earlier this week when he dramatically pulled a large slice of the funding for the new stadium project that was meant to secure the move of NFL side the Oakland Raiders to southern Nevada.

Adelson’s decision to renege on his family’s pledge to put $650m into the $1.9bn domed stadium development leaves a big hole in the finances for the project. It also means the Raiders will struggle to justify the move ahead of a meeting with the NFL owners that was set to decide on whether the move would get the go-ahead.

The potential move to Vegas has been discussed since the start of the last NFL regular season and gained momentum when Adelson pledged money to go towards finding the team a home. The move was seen as providing a boost to Las Vegas tourist numbers.

The pull-out was caused by disagreement between the Adelson family and the owners of the Raiders franchise. A Las Vegas Sands spokesperson told the Las Vegas review Journal (a paper owned by Adelson) that the dispute related to a proposed lease agreement document that “did not reflect the commitments that the Adelson family made to the Raiders and that the Raiders had made to the Adelson family.”

The news comes as a blow to those who hoped that an NFL franchise in Las Vegas might soften attitudes towards gambling – and specifically sports-betting – at the NFL. The organisation has previously been vocally opposed to any further relaxation of the prohibition on sports-betting in most of the US.

Those hopes have likely been dashed. Having accused the Raiders ownership of attempting ot “picking (Adelson’s) pocket”, the spokesperson went on to say the football club would find it a tough sell to proceed even without the Adelson cash. “If they think that they’re going to go forward making it all about the Raiders and not about all the other things that drive visitation, I think they should be prepared for some long stadium authority meetings,” the spokesperson told the LVRJ.

Totally Gaming says: It’s hard to say where we go from here. In the grand game of bluff and double-bluff that has characterised the potential franchise move, the volatility of the actors involved makes the prediction game even more tricky. It would certainly boost the arguments in favour of sports-betting if the franchise did move, given the power of the sports leagues in deciding this question. But is remains merely a nice-to-have.

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