Amid talk that the Raiders could move to Las Vegas, the NFL has urged all 32 teams to stay quiet about the matter — but not to rule anything out if they do talk.
A memo distributed to all 32 teams’ PR directors noted that “There is no prohibition under league rules on a team moving to any particular city.” In other words, the league doesn’t have a set policy against playing in Las Vegas.
However, any move would have to get the support of 24 owners. And it’s very, very unlikely that 24 owners would vote to allow the Raiders to move to Las Vegas. The NFL has long tried to keep gambling at arm’s length, and it’s hard to keep gambling at arm’s length when you’re in the world’s gambling Mecca.
The talking points sent out by the NFL to the teams’ PR directors start with, “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.” In other words, the league would prefer that talk of a team in Vegas is kept quiet.
If an owner does comment, however, the league urged PR directors to remember that no proposal has been made, and it would be speculative to comment at this time. The league doesn’t want to rule Vegas out, but the NFL is a long way from playing there.