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Vegas Gambles on Raiders: Nevada Legislature Antes Up $750 Million for Stadium

The Nevada legislature approved a $1.17 billion bill to fund a football stadium and improvements to the Las Vegas Convention Center on Friday.

The $750 million in public money allocated to the stadium represents the largest subsidy received in such a deal in the history of the National Football League. The Indianapolis Colts held the previous record by wresting more than $600 million from taxpayers for Lucas Oil Stadium. U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, which opened earlier this year, received around $500 million from state and local government.

The corporate subsidies assuredly mean both higher taxes for Nevadans and the loss of the Raiders for Oakland. The Senate approved the bill 16-5 earlier this week, the assembly passed it 28-13 on Friday, and the Senate then unanimously approved the assembly’s amendments immediately thereafter. Republican Governor Brian Sandoval looks to sign the bill next week, most likely Monday, in a ceremony including Raiders owner Mark Davis.

“I would like to thank Governor Sandoval, the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, and the members of the Nevada Legislature on this historic day,” Davis proclaimed in a release. “All parties have worked extremely hard to develop and approve this tremendous stadium project that will serve as a proud new home for the entire Raider Nation.”

With the Golden State Warriors off to San Francisco in three years, the Raiders soon moving to Las Vegas, and the Seals gone from Oakland for 40 years, a four-team town for a brief period in the 1970s becomes a one-team town in a few years. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed plans to keep the A’s in Oakland but the team needs a new stadium to replace its dated venue.

In both Nevada houses, the budget-busting bill received majority support from both parties. But a greater percentage of Republicans voted for passage.

The Republican governor praised the assembly for supporting the massive expenditure.

“This is the beginning of the next chapter of southern Nevada’s continued dominance in tourism, conventions and hospitality and presents an exciting opportunity for UNLV,” Governor Sandoval gushed. “I’m proud of the work that has been done to create these possibilities for Nevada’s future and the next phase of our state’s evolution.”

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