The Oakland Raiders experienced two setbacks this week that may halt the team’s planned move to Las Vegas. On Monday, Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson backed out of the $650 million investment he pledged during last year’s lobbying effort.
This was a shock to those following the Raiders-to-Vegas saga because Adelson was the most influential person behind the proposal. His efforts created the Nevada legislative special session in 2016 that created the new tax for the stadium. Adelson’s campaign donations and other influence convinced more than two-thirds of the Nevada legislators to approve the bill that Governor Sandoval eventually signed into law.
Adelson cited multiple issues with the negotiations. Most notably was the $1 in rent the Raiders proposed paying to the stadium backers. Other issues involved the demand to have the Raiders logo remain on the field for other events and the potential for scheduling conflicts with the UNLV football team, according to the Nevada Independent.
The stadium lease provides access to the local university at cost for its six home games a year. UNLV currently plays in Sam Boyd Stadium. That property is east of Boulder Highway, seven miles from the UNLV campus. It is an outdated facility.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs was thought to be the backup plan for the $650 million in financing needed to complete the deal for the $1.9 billion stadium. Goldman Sachs also announced that the company would not participate in the Las Vegas stadium project.
This situation has left the Raiders with no known investor. The team has $500 million to put up but does not have the ability to finance the remainder needed for the project.
The Raiders have not made any announcements after the backers walked away from the negotiating table beyond thanking those involved. Commissioner Roger Goodell stated later in the week that individuals involved in casino gambling wouldn’t be permitted to own equity in a team and alluded to not permitting the same people from having any piece of a stadium deal. This leaves out most local billionaires in Las Vegas that have been mentioned as potential partners.
If the Raiders move to Las Vegas fails to materialize by early 2018, UNLV will have the opportunity to raise $200 million for a stadium. UNLV would have 90 days to declare intent and another two years to raise the funds. A tax on hotel rooms in Clark County would pay for the public’s share, just as it would have for a Raiders’ stadium. If UNLV fails to raise the money, all taxes collected would go to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.