Rendering by Manica Architecture
The NFL has always been connected at the hip to the gambling industry.
National Football League owners, meeting in Phoenix today (March 27), approved the Oakland Raiders' move to the gambling haven.
The vote was 31-1. The dissenting vote was not announced but it was said to come from Miami.
The league and the Raiders were unhappy with an offer made by Oakland, a city that is so financially broke that it had no business offering anything. Governments in Nevada will provide $750 million. Gambling tycoon Sheldon Adelson, said to be worth $31 billion, initially wanted to toss a bundle into the stadium, but he would only participate if government did its part. Adelson's family owns the major daily newspaper in Vegas and it, of course, pumped up the government subsidy for the team.
The Raiders were originally in Oakland when the American Football League was founded in the 1960s, then relocated to Los Angeles in a move that involved a fight with the NFL, then moved back to Oakland in the mid-1990s.
Las Vegas is the 29th largest metro area in the United States — just ahead of Kansas City and Cleveland, which are in the NFL. Las Vegas's 2.1 million population is large enough to support an NFL team, particularly since tourists are perpetually filling the casinos.
This means there will be three teams close to each other. There are now two teams in Los Angeles, including the Chargers (formerly of San Diego) and a third in Vegas.
Las Vegas is also getting a National Hockey League team, the Golden Knights, in the fall.
For decades, the NFL hypocritically sneered at Vegas because of its ties with gambling. But the NFL has always been connected at the hip to the gambling industry. The NFL was founded in 1920 as a Sunday gambling locale. Hoods such as Al Capone helped finance NFL teams. Since then, high rollers and those connected with organized crime have been NFL owners, although there are fewer such connections these days.