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Raiders have one foot in Oakland and the other in Vegas

The for-the-time-being Oakland Raiders are one step closer to the Mecca of online NFL betting – or any other kind of betting, for that matter. The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee voted unanimously to recommend raising the hotel tax in the Las Vegas area to raise $750 million in public funding to build a 65,000-seat domed stadium for the Las Vegas Raiders. CEO of Las Vegas Sands and billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson promoted and would partially finance the project. Adelson and associates would still have to convince the governor, the legislature, and someone with even more power than those two – NFL owners.

The estimated cost of the stadium is $1.9 billion. Las Vegas lawmakers would have to approve the $1.4 billion stadium’s public funding package. The Adelson family plans to chip in $650 million, while the now-Oakland Raiders would come up with $500 million. That’s a lot of moolah. This ain’t no fantasy online football betting. As a matter of fact, opponents wonder whether it’s appropriate to put public dollars toward a project led by one of the richest men in the world. Another concern is that the bonds used to finance the project could put taxpayers in the undesired position of having to cover stadium debt in a downturn. And it’s not like they could cover that with their online NFL betting winnings.

Moreover, Las Vegas Sands officials said they don’t want to return any profits to the public because they would be profiting little or nothing on the new stadium. They are also committing to fund construction cost overruns and infrastructure improvements at the yet-to-be-determined construction site. Additionally, committee chairman Steve Hill said that the way the deal is structured, it would protect taxpayers in a recession, even one as deep as the last one when hotel tax revenues dropped 33%. “We get an NFL team, and that is a significant step forward for Las Vegas and the community,” Hill said. “Those teams bring the community together. We’re going to have people wearing Raiders jerseys and high-fiving each other… That’s not something you can put a number on.” Mmmh, dunno, how ‘bout the number five?

the legislature has not yet set a date for the vote on the stadium, but proponents want state lawmakers to meet and green-light the deal a to the sap so that they can move on to the next phase which is to rope in the NFL team owners. Back in January, league commissioner Roger Goodell – huh, I thought he was dead – said he would not get in the way if the Oakland Raiders want to relocate to Las Vegas and the owners approve it. It takes 24 of the 32 owners – three-quarters, or 75% – to agree to any market relocation to make it official. Thus, it seems as if all the pieces are falling into place, and while it may not be tomorrow, some day Las Vegans will be able to do some online NFL betting on a team of their very own.