The NFL has long tried to distance itself from gambling, and from Las Vegas, America’s gambling mecca. And just this week, Giants co-owner John Mara declared that a team moving to Las Vegas would be a “non-starter” in the eyes of most owners.
But as Raiders owner Mark Davis flirts with Las Vegas as a potential future home, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t ready to rule it out.
“Mark Davis is appropriately looking at all his alternatives,” Goodell said, via ESPN. “They need to evaluate those alternatives. I think their ultimate decision is a long ways off. There are several cities that have a tremendous interest in the Raiders. I’m hopeful also that Oakland will be one of those and that we can avoid any relocation to start with. Those are ultimately decisions about where they go and the impact that the potential gambling that we’d have to deal with.”
So legal gambling in Las Vegas wouldn’t necessarily keep the NFL from having a team there?
“We’d have to understand it, we’d have to understand what the impact is on us and ultimately each owner would have a vote on that,” Goodell said.
If Mara is to be believed, the owners have already decided and would vote against the Raiders (or any other team) moving to Las Vegas. Davis, however, could decide to move his team without the permission of his fellow owners and hope that he’d win the litigation that would surely follow.
But that fight doesn’t appear imminent. More likely, Davis is simply talking to Las Vegas for negotiating leverage, knowing that the more potential suitors he has, the better deal he’s going to get.