So far, Las Vegas has been the only city to contact the Chargers about possible relocation talks since the team became free to talk on Jan. 1. However, much has been made about whether Sin City is a realistic option considering its roots in sports gambling.
The Los Angeles Times today took an extended look at Las Vegas’ prospects for eventually luring its first major pro sports franchise as the city prepares to host the NBA All-Star game. It is the first time the league has played the game in a city that doesn’t have an NBA team.
Besides from the usual discussion surrounding gambling, the article also touches on a couple of different angles, such as casinos’ reaction to any taxpayer subsidies for sports and the competition any team would have with all the other entertainment options in town.
Here are a couple of snippets:
Whether Las Vegas taxpayers would be willing to finance a stadium is unclear. And the casinos, which are accustomed to building arenas and showrooms with their own money, might well object to construction of a publicly subsidized entertainment venue.
“It makes no sense to us to take the tax dollars we’re creating and build another competitor down the street,” says Alan Feldman, a spokesman for MGM Mirage, a leading casino operator in Las Vegas.
And this under the heading “NFL? Not likely to make it:”
But the NFL is openly averse to any association with gambling, legal or otherwise. At a news conference in Miami during Super Bowl week, Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated the league’s intention to keep “a very strong line between the NFL and sports gambling.”
“I don’t think it’s in the best interests of the NFL to have any association with sports betting,” he said. A league spokesman said later that placing a team in Las Vegas might look like an “implicit endorsement of gambling.”
Goodman’s relations with the NFL, in any case, are at rock bottom. In 2003, the league vetoed a Super Bowl TV commercial purchase by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Goodman, then the agency’s chairman, threatened to sue.
Goodman and the league clashed again when several casinos were barred from airing the Super Bowl on large-screen televisions in a dispute over broadcast rights.