With several NFL teams seeking to move from one city to the another, some are now wondering if the Oakland Raiders might be headed to Las Vegas. And despite past bias against Sin City, a new memo from the NFL seemingly hints that the league has not ruled out the possibility of a Raiders move to Vegas.
The Raiders lost a bid for relocation during the recent spate of moves, but remain extremely interested in moving out of Oakland and recently it appears Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson took a meeting with the West Coast team to discuss coming to Vegas.
Adelson has expressed interest in building a $1 billion domed stadium on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, so presumably Adelson wonders if the Raiders just might find a home in that new facility.
Raiders owner Mark Davis reportedly visited Adelson in Vegas, but neither man has confirmed what was said. In fact, they aren’t even confirming the meeting took place.
Despite years of rumors that the NFL would never approve of a team moving to a city with legalized gambling, immediately after the Davis/Adelson meeting the league put out a memo seeming to leave the door open for a Vegas franchise.
As ESPN reports, the memo reads:
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.
It is point three many say shows Vegas remains in the running for a team.
Past hostility to gambling in American professional sports wanes, and this might just serve as another small example proving the trend.
Over the past year or so several pro sports leagues have been making deals and getting in bed with the betting industry likely in preparation for sports betting to become legal nationwide. With this in mind, it makes sense that any past ill will directed at Vegas would seem meaningless in today’s pro-gambling climate.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com