LAS VEGAS – (Special to Digital Sports Desk – SportsBiz Wire) – Things are moving forward for the Oakland Raiders on and off the field. The Raiders, who have a chance to move into sole possession of first place in the AFC West with a win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, moved one step closer to making a move to Las Vegas a reality on Friday.
State lawmakers in Nevada approved $750 million in public funding for a stadium in Las Vegas by a vote of 16-5 in the Senate and 28-13 in the Assembly. Governor Brian Sandoval, who has shown support for the stadium, now needs to sign off.
“I would like to thank Governor Sandoval, the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, and the members of the Nevada Legislature on this historic day,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement. “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.”
The $750 million is expected to come from a Las Vegas-area hotel tax, though taxpayers would be on the hook if the tax fails to provide the expected windfall.
The Raiders and Las Vegas have been circling each other since NFL owners voted in favor of moving the Rams to Los Angeles after last season instead of Oakland and San Diego. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is expected to contribute $650 million while Davis will kick in another $500 million for the proposed 65,000-seat stadium.
“Today the Nevada Legislature took an important step in bringing America’s favorite sport to Las Vegas by approving funding for a new NFL stadium,” American Gaming Association president and CEO Geoff Freeman said in a statement. “The legislature’s action signals that sports betting and professional sports can coexist in a safe, regulated marketplace.”
The door is not closed on the Raiders remaining in Oakland. Davis needs approval of three-quarters of NFL owners in order to move to Las Vegas, and Oakland officials are still searching for solutions to keep the team in the city.
“I’ll make sure the Raiders have a viable and responsible option for staying in Oakland,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday.