No NFL owners have publicly said they’ll oppose a potential move of the Raiders to Las Vegas due to gambling. While that could be part of a broader effort to keep maximum pressure on Oakland by not ruling out any and all alternative destinations, owners who have strong feelings on certain topics have a hard time not expressing them, on or off the record.
As it relates to this specific issue, the current thinking in league circles is that there aren’t and won’t be enough “no” votes to keep the Raiders out of Las Vegas for gambling reasons. Other factors, such as Oakland waking up with a viable offer or Las Vegas not coming up with enough free money to get the deal done, could complicate the situation. Based solely on gambling, however, the ayes apparently will have it — even though it would take only nine nays to kill it.
One source with knowledge of ownership dynamics recently predicted that Giants co-owner John Mara, Bears chairman George McCaskey, and Bengals owner Mike Brown would vote no on a Las Vegas move, due to gambling. It’s also possible that Steelers owner Art Rooney would do the same, despite the fact that Rooney family members without current ownership in the team previously had extensive gambling interests.
Still, folks who are in position to count votes are having a hard time coming up with nine that would oppose Las Vegas based solely on gambling. That’s a far cry from just a few years ago, when the NFL refused to even consider the possibility of playing a preseason game in Sin City.
But with free money for stadiums harder and harder to come by, the league has no choice but to “evolve” on a topic that became full evolved in the American consciousness years ago.