The Raiders’ Friday trip to check out prospects of a new stadium proposal in Las Vegas, as many thinking about the prospects of the NFL moving to a town popular for legalized gambling.
The NFL’s long been adverse to that industry, especially overt associations with sports betting. Vegas is still seen by many as an unworkable market because of that.
Raiders owner Mark Davis met with chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which is serious about building a NFL-quality stadium close to city center. It remains relatively early in the process of exploring whether the NFL would consider Las Vegas as a possible home for the Raiders.
The NFL didn’t comment publicly on the issue – commissioner Roger Goodell will certainly be asked about it during his annual Super Bowl press conference Friday in San Francisco – and reaffirmed the league's relocation guidelines and that there is no prohibition on any specific location. The league sent out a memo discussing talking points should team officials be asked about Vegas.
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Here is the memo sent by the league, which was obtained by the Los Angeles Daily News:
“There have been reports over the last day about a proposal to construct a new stadium in Las Vegas in connection with a possible move of the Raiders to Las Vegas. If your club owner or executives are asked about this, there is no need to comment. If any comment is offered, please keep the following points in mind:
1. All decisions regarding the location of teams are made by the full membership. Three-fourths of the member clubs must approve any team move.
2. No proposal made to the league. It would be speculative to suggest that your club would or would not support such a proposal. If such a proposal is made, it would be considered under the league’s relocation policies.
3. There is no prohibition under league rules on a team moving to any particular city. Any proposal for relocation would be evaluated based on the same standards as apply to any proposed move. Those standards are well-known, having just been applied in connection with relocation proposals to Los Angeles.”
The Raiders are exploring several options in their search for a permanent stadium solution. They have explored options in Oakland, San Antonio and Las Vegas. They were approved for Los Angeles relocation along with the Rams if the Chargers decline their option to do so and stay in San Diego. If the Chargers leave, San Diego could be a Raiders option.
The Raiders are expected to stay in the East Bay in 2016. They have opened discussions with O.co Coliseum, though they don’t have a lease to return to that venue yet.