The NFL has always been connected at the hip to the gambling industry.
  • The NFL has always been connected at the hip to the gambling industry.
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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.

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Comments

danfogel March 27, 2017 @ 12:41 p.m.

don bauder

"This means there will be three teams close to each other ". I am not sure what the significance of this is. It is roughly 250 miles from LA to Vegas, depending on where you come from. If I were to drive from Santa Barbara, it would be roughly 100 miles further. From DC to East Rutherford, it is also roughly 250 miles, with a much, much larger population and 5 teams to choose from.

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aardvark March 27, 2017 @ 1:05 p.m.

The Raiders moving to LV could very well end up hurting the Chargers. At least we can hope that happens. And being as there are FAR more Raider fans than Charger fans in the greater LA area, I think the Raiders will do much better than the Chargers will--at least as far as home team support. The Chargers may still draw well--thanks to the thousands that will go to cheer on the visiting team.

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Don Bauder March 27, 2017 @ 1:33 p.m.

aardvark: In its first couple of years, until the new stadium is completed, the Chargers will play in a small stadium and charge horrendous prices. I don't know that they will do so well, although it is too early to tell. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark March 27, 2017 @ 1:39 p.m.

Don: Spanos has $$ signs in his eyes, as he watches his franchise value go higher than it ever would have here. I don't think he gives two shits about attendance, but it will be funny to see even the Stub Hub Center overrun with visiting team's fans--just like at the Q.

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ImJustABill March 27, 2017 @ 2:23 p.m.

I think the visiting team problem will be MUCH worse for the next couple of years at Stub Hub than it was at the Q (with the exception of a few games in the lame duck part of 2016-17, esp. the Raider game).

But I think as long as the tickets are sold Spanos won't care what colors the fans in the seats are wearing.

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Don Bauder March 27, 2017 @ 3:30 p.m.

aardvark: Yes, the value of the Chargers has already soared, just because it has a base in a far bigger market. I do think Spanos does care about attendance, because if he can't even fill the Stub Hub, even with fans coming from far away rooting for the visitors, the team value will come downward. Best, Don Bauder

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bbq March 28, 2017 @ 7:18 a.m.

Having been up to StubHub Center over the last couple of months to Coach at the LA Velodrome, there is not a single bit of Chargers signage or indication of their plans to play there. I find this amusing after all that the Spanos clan did down here. Certainly not a great business model, I expect the "Chargers BIG Adventure" will become a case study of how not to manage a Sports franchise in Business School. BBQ

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Don Bauder March 28, 2017 @ 11:38 a.m.

bbq; The Chargers public relations over the two years are already classic examples of how not to run a sports campaign. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill March 27, 2017 @ 1:07 p.m.

Vegas is a HUGE tourist destination for Southern CA residents. A lot of people in LA decide on Friday afternoon to drive out to Vegas.

I don't think many people in East Rutherford decide on Friday afternoon to drive out to DC for the weekend.

I think that the Vegas Raiders will draw far more fans from Southern CA than the Chargers will for the foreseeable future.

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Don Bauder March 27, 2017 @ 1:37 p.m.

ImJustABill: I agree. The Vegas Raiders will draw more fans from L.A. than either of the L.A. teams will draw from Vegas. The visitors to Vegas have addictive personalities. They want to gamble and enjoy prostitution in their time off. Gambling and prostitution are available in L.A., but they are not easily accessible. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 27, 2017 @ 3:34 p.m.

ImJustABill: I agree with that assessment. The Vegas team will draw from a lot of places, simply because there are so many sins to commit before and after the game. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 27, 2017 @ 1:30 p.m.

danfogel: Riverside and San Bernardino, included in the defined greater L.A. area, are closer (say, L.A. is 264 miles from Vegas and San Bernardino is 227 miles). Flying time is a short trip from any location in the L.A. metro area.

People could leave the L.A. metro area on Friday afternoon, be there in a bit over half an hour by plane, get in some gambling and cavorting with hookers, do the same Saturday all day, go to the game Sunday and return that evening. I think Vegas will take some fans from L.A. I think L.A.will take far fewer from Vegas. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark March 27, 2017 @ 1:01 p.m.

The League was never going to walk away from $750 million in public money.

But this move could really hurt the new NHL franchise in Las Vegas, IMO. It will be tough for the Golden Knights anyway, as historically, expansion franchises are not very good, and by the time they theoretically should be competitive in the NHL, the Raiders will come in and steal their thunder.

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Don Bauder March 27, 2017 @ 1:45 p.m.

aardvark: There is a good question: will hockey teams make it in warm climes in which the game is not played much by young people? The team in the Phoenix metro area has had a miserable time financially and in the arena.

Also, gambling on hockey games is not as exciting as gambling on football, I understand. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark March 27, 2017 @ 4:43 p.m.

Don: Part of the problem with the Coyotes poor attendance was playing in a building that wasn't designed for hockey (downtown arena), and then moving to the far west end of the valley. Traffic going to the west valley is a daily nightmare. And the fact the franchise hasn't been very good doesn't help matters either.

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Don Bauder March 28, 2017 @ 6:53 a.m.

aardvark: Yes, these are more reasons pro hockey has taken a huge pratfall in Phoenix. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark March 27, 2017 @ 1:34 p.m.

I don't think the LV stadium will go where this artist rendering shows it, since what this rendering doesn't show is McCarran International Airport, which is across the street that shows on the far right of the picture.

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Don Bauder March 27, 2017 @ 1:47 p.m.

aardvark: The new stadium in LA will be close to LAX, too. Worth watching. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark March 27, 2017 @ 1:59 p.m.

Don: I've been to Hollywood Park (when it was still there). That area is in the landing pattern for LAX, but it is about 1.5 to 2 miles east of LAX. If the LV stadium is built where it is shown in the picture above, it would be at most a few hundred yards from the end of the runways at McCarran. There is currently an executive golf course on that site. When planes land on the commuter runways from the SW, you can throw a golf ball up and hit a plane. (Not recommended, by the way)

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ImJustABill March 27, 2017 @ 3:24 p.m.

Can an NFL field goal kicker kick a football high enough to hit a plane?

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Don Bauder March 27, 2017 @ 3:42 p.m.

ImJustABill: No, but punters can hit the scoreboard in that fancy Dallas stadium, I understand. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 27, 2017 @ 3:40 p.m.

aardvark: It's a good thing I will never play golf on that course. My chip shots would always be hitting planes. The divots I used to leave on the course were large enough to down a large plane.

Long ago, I used to play the Firestone course. I figured it cost the company two or three cents a share off of earnings in those quarters -- the expense of cleaning up behind me. Best, Don Bauder

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SportsFan0000 March 27, 2017 @ 1:49 p.m.

NFL failed to hose another California Region for billions in corporate welfare for another team.?! LV is giving 750M+ 250M in guaranteed maintenance costs. However, the devil is in the details and the fine print. Losses?! Construction cost overuns?! Incidental fees and costs?! It is always much higher as the 49ers and the City and County of Santa Clara found out with Levis field.

Incidentally, Santa Clara/Levis Field had offered Mark Davis and the Raiders a "shared stadium deal" in Santa Clara which the Raiders turned down.

Al Davis would have fit right in in Vegas with the Raiders, the hookers, the gambling, the gold chains, white shoes, Hawaiian shits open at the front to his navel etc...

Just wonder if the Oakland fans will still support the Raiders for the 2-3 year period that they may still be playing in Oakland?!

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ImJustABill March 27, 2017 @ 2:29 p.m.

I've heard the number 950M (750M for stadium + 200M maintenance) reported on the radio.

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Don Bauder March 27, 2017 @ 3:49 p.m.

ImJustABil: I haven't read the details yet on who pays what. Since this is happening in Las vegas, and in Nevada, somebody is going to get screwed. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 28, 2017 @ 6:57 a.m.

ImJustABill: The devil is in the details,as always. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 27, 2017 @ 3:45 p.m.

SportsFan0000: Yes, I heard that the Raiders were given an offer to play their games at the Santa Claera/Levis field, and turned it down. People figured it would be a sociological mismatch. Santa Clarans are nice people. Raiders fans are evil people. Best, Don Bauder

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SportsFan0000 March 28, 2017 @ 12:41 a.m.

Don. When the Raiders were originally in Oakland and went back, many of their fans were just working class factory types and normal middle class people. I think when Al Davis moved the Raiders to LA..some of the hard core streed gangs adopted the Raiders and some wore their colors. I could see that when the Raiders played in San Diego...some of the fans were a hard core gang element, rough looking crowd and SDPD was out in full force and evicted some near where we were sitting for fighting and drunkenness. I had been to 49ers and Raiders games in the Bay Area. The fan crowd was much different in Oakland and SF. Not the same gang element that I noticed when the Raiders were in LA....,most just normal football fans and families.

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Don Bauder March 28, 2017 @ 7 a.m.

SportsFan0000: I understand that over a long period, the Raiders are the most penalized team, greatly because of excessively rough play. The Raider fans love that. So will the Vegas fans. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh March 27, 2017 @ 3:56 p.m.

Don, You point out that Oakland could afford no such foolishness. I agree. But can Vegas really afford it? If you scratch below the surface of Vegas, you learn that the residents are suffering all sorts of social ills, and that governmental services to assist them are grossly inadequate, due to lack of funding. All that glitz and glitter in Vegas masks the grim reality of the city. It ain't a nice place, never was after gambling came along, and has no prospects for improvement. Lots of jobs but they are at the wrong time of day, the pay isn't so great, and families really struggle to stay afloat and stay sane.

If the Raiders prosper there it will be in spite of the host city, and will be due to the tourists, the gamblers, and the inverted priorities of the state government.

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SportsFan0000 March 28, 2017 @ 12:36 a.m.

If you drive a few blocks away from the Vegas strip, you can see plenty of poor areas and slums...It looks like a feast or famine style town. Read/heard that LV was hammered very hard by foreclosures vying with Phoenix for the most foreclosures in the country.

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Don Bauder March 28, 2017 @ 7:07 a.m.

SportsFan0000: Yes, many of the casino jobs pay very little. Vegas is a metro area of extremes. Adelson is worth $32 billion. Some other casino owners are worth bundles. But many metro residents work for near-starvation wages. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK March 28, 2017 @ 8:57 a.m.

just like most big cities, they look great from the air, not so much at ground level.

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Don Bauder March 28, 2017 @ 12:58 p.m.

Murphyjunk; I think Vegas looks ghastly from the ground, but I have never seen it from the air. Sometimes we are forced to drive through Vegas. I insist we go to a motel outside of town.I don't want a cent of my money going to those hoods. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 28, 2017 @ 7:04 a.m.

Visduh: Median household income in Vegas is not impressive. Before gambling came along, prostitution was probably the biggest industry-- to service the men working on the big dam nearby. The Wikipedia entry, as I recall, some years ago featured a photo of the prostitutes lolling on the streets as the dam went up. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi March 27, 2017 @ 9:13 p.m.

When I first learned that the Raiders were moving to Vegas, I had this vision in my head. It is a Sunday phenomenon. Thousands of cars and trucks stretching hundreds miles, flying black flags, with pilots and passengers dressed in black, masked and hooded. From far away it looks like an ISIS caravan. Pirates, misfits and thieves on their bi-weekly journey to revel in the desert.

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Don Bauder March 28, 2017 @ 7:08 a.m.

Ponzi: Your vision may well prove to be accurate. It often is. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh March 28, 2017 @ 8:20 a.m.

Raider Nation (which is what fans from across the country call themselves) on the move!

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Don Bauder March 29, 2017 @ 7:16 a.m.

Visduh: Well, thugs and hoodlums of various descriptions are always on the move, to evade the gendarmes. So it's fitting that the Raiders have deserted Oakland twice. Now they are going to a city that is even more accommodating to ruffians and hellhounds. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 29, 2017 @ 7:17 a.m.

Ponzi: Perfectly descriptive Raider art. Best, Don Bauder

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AlexClarke March 28, 2017 @ 6:25 a.m.

What will all the thug Raider fans do?

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Don Bauder March 29, 2017 @ 7:19 a.m.

AlexClarke: Some will travel to Vegas and get into fistfights. Others will watch the games in Oakland saloons and get into fistfights. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 28, 2017 @ 7:10 a.m.

AlexClarke: Those with a few shekels in their pockets (collected from illicit activities) will drive to Vegas. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 28, 2017 @ 1:47 p.m.

Visduh: Las Vegas won't be known as Raider Nation. The Raider's home city will continue to be called "Pickpocketville." Best,Don Bauder

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ImJustABill March 29, 2017 @ 9:10 a.m.

Economist Roger Noll was on XTRA 1360 (a SD sports station) yesterday discussing how the LV subsidy is based on unrealistic assumptions and will basically be equivalent to residents pitching in about $1000 / ea to help the Raiders. The host seemed to mostly agree with what Noll was saying. I think it's notable that even some in the sports media are questioning the notion of public funding for stadia. I'm not sure how long the podcast link is up - the interview is about 10 minutes into the 3rd hour from yesterday's show. http://1360sports.iheart.com/media/play/27714257/

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Don Bauder March 30, 2017 @ 9:33 a.m.

ImJustABill: Hmmm: Vegas individuals pitching in $1000 apiece, while Sheldon Adelson, who is worth $31 billion, wouldn't up the ante unless government put more in the pot. It obeyed Adelson. Everyone in Vegas does. Best, Don Bauder

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SportsFan0000 March 30, 2017 @ 12:08 a.m.

This is how I remember viewing Chargers-Raiders games in SD. Fights breaking out everywhere.

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MURPHYJUNK March 30, 2017 @ 7:31 a.m.

some really gruesome violence at foreign soccer matches too, is that in san diego's future too?

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Don Bauder March 30, 2017 @ 9:38 a.m.

Murphyjunk: I have mentioned once, but will mention again, that indignant Latin American fans, believing a ref's call had incorrectly gone against their team, beheaded the ref. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 30, 2017 @ 2:51 p.m.

SportsFan0000: And Raider fans being hauled off to the slammer. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 30, 2017 @ 9:36 a.m.

SportsFan0000: Football fans think the perfect game is "smash mouth football." Apparently, an ideal game is smash mouth on the field combined with smash mouth in the stands. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark March 31, 2017 @ 10:20 a.m.

As long as they don't pull out knives--which also happened at a Chargers vs Raiders game. But at least the had the decency to wait until they were in the parking lot.

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Don Bauder March 31, 2017 @ 7 p.m.

aardvark: Apparently, you would rather be stabbed to death outside the stadium than inside. I think if you got stabbed inside the stadium, help may come more quickly. Best, Don Bauder

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