As if Raiders owner Mark Davis offering $500 million toward a stadium wasn’t enough of a sign people were serious about the possibility of the Raiders actually going to Las Vegas, the league’s continually softening stance on Sin City should be.
Via Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked on ESPN Radio whether gambling concerns would be enough to prevent a Raiders move.
“All of us have evolved a little bit on gambling,” Goodell said. “To me, where I cross the line is anything that can impact on the integrity of the game. If people think it is something that can influence the outcome of a game, we are absolutely opposed to that.”
The idea that gangsters are going to lean on players to influence outcomes of games is a paranoia of another era. As gambling on sports has become more popular and more available, the stigma of Las Vegas as a destination for the league has receded.
The league’s also perfectly willing to push the game in London, where gambling on sports is not only commonplace, but endorsed on the fronts of jerseys in England’s top soccer league.
So it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that the league seems to be warming to the idea of Las Vegas. If nothing else, the Rams going to Los Angeles required them to come up with another city to use as leverage in existing stadium negotiations.