At least one influential owner, John Mara of the Giants, went on the record in March to say that, for most owners, putting a team in Las Vegas would be a “non-starter.” Another influential owner (or, in theory, possibly the same influential owner) has recently addressed the situation via off-the-record quotes, expressing both opposition to the concept but resignation to the reality that, if Oakland won’t ante up to keep the Raiders, Las Vegas should be allowed to snag them.
“I think it would be a tough sell, but I don’t think it’s impossible,” the unnamed owner told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. “If they put such a good deal in front of the Raiders, it has a chance of getting support. I would prefer not to have the Raiders there. I would prefer they stay where they are. Oakland is a great market, but if there is no opportunity to put a stadium there, it would be hard to blame them for moving. I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to it if it’s the best alternative. If it’s between Las Vegas and being stuck in an awful stadium, there is nowhere else to go.”
Legalized gambling would be an issue, to be sure. But the NFL has been staging regular-season games in England for nearly a decade now, where casual gambling permeates the culture.
“It would be a concern to have exposure to all these people out there, more so than any other area,” the unnamed owner said. “It would have to be discussed and everybody would have to be comfortable with it.”
With Las Vegas planning to fork over 66 percent of the cost of building a stadium at a time when Oakland is willing to kick in roughly zero, it won’t be hard for everybody to quickly get comfortable with an NFL team moving to a place where legal gambling happens — especially since all teams have been residing for decades in places where illegal gambling occurs.