If one specific thing happens in Vegas, the Raiders could be staying in Vegas.
According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News, owner Mark Davis plans to make a commitment on Thursday to pursue relocation to Las Vegas if financing for the proposed $1.3 billion stadium is approved. Roughly two-thirds of the funds would come from taxes imposed on tourists.
For Davis to be something more than a tourist, he’ll still need approval of at least 23 of his 31 business partners. As Bonsignore notes, the Charger, Rams, Texans, and Cowboys have strong reasons to support a Vegas move for the Raiders, since it would take them out of the running for L.A. or San Antonio. Under that reasoning, the 49ers likely would support the move, too, since a departure of the Raiders would give the entirety of the Bay Area market to the team that now plays in Santa Clara.
Davis would still need at least 18 other teams to agree, a prospect that could be undermined by a gambling angle the NFL has worked so hard over the years to avoid. Still, the league’s attitude about Las Vegas has abruptly changed; whether that’s simply aimed at squeezing Oakland into working out a stadium deal remains to be seen.
If Oakland won’t budge, a Vegas move for the Raiders could be the latest example of the league taking what it can get, where it can get it. With few cities willing to fork over significant public money to build a stadium, a commitment by Las Vegas to foist 66 cents of every dollar onto folks who will be even more inclined to visit town if the Raiders play there is precisely the kind of thing that can get the NFL to look the other way on a topic as to which, frankly, the NFL has been looking the other way for years, in most contexts.