Raiders Lease: Vegas & NFL At Odds Over Sports Betting
As the ink dries on a provisional lease contract for the Oakland Raiders’ 2020 move to Las Vegas, certain conditions raise concerns about the future of sports betting at the Raiders’ stadium.
Details Of The Lease
In what seems to be record speed, the Las Vegas Stadium Authority came to an agreement on Thursday regarding the details surrounding the soon-to-be home of the Raiders. The nine-member board approved the agreement in a 9-0 vote and it now just awaits approval from NFL owners. There are still small details left to discuss, such as how usage will be shared with UNLV and a few additional permits, but here are some of the main points of the lease agreement according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Contract Duration – The Raiders will remain at the stadium for a minimum of 30 seasons.
UNLV Partnership – The Raiders will be sharing the stadium with the UNLV Rebels and these terms are still under negotiation. Rather than being called the “university sublease”, there will be a “UNLV Joint-Use Agreement” implemented.
Naming & Advertising – The NFL will hold all naming rights, along with exclusive protected use of all Raiders and NFL logos.
Gambling – Gaming is expressly prohibited at the stadium. The lease draft defines gaming as the following:
‘Gaming’ shall mean to deal, operate, carry on, conduct, maintain or expose for play any Game, gaming device, inter-casino linked system, mobile gaming system… sports pool, or any other form of gaming or gambling”
So Is All Sports Betting Is Off Limits At Raiders Stadium?
Given the NFL’s long and highly publicized battle against sports betting, we already knew that sports fans would not be able to visit physical kiosks and bet while at the stadium. What we did not expect is the language of the lease draft to also ban mobile sports betting.
A majority of Las Vegas casinos and sportsbooks offer mobile wagering apps to their patrons. Unlike offshore online sportsbooks such as Bovada, Vegas sportsbooks only permit residents of the state to use their mobile apps. One survey showed that 53% of sports bets placed at William Hill Vegas are done via a mobile application. The logistics of this ban were not discussed in the draft, but if it were to be implemented we would imagine geolocation could be used to block those from within a certain radius of the stadium from placing wagers.
Interestingly enough, according to the stadium authority, there is no need to worry about access to sports betting sites being blocked. Nevada gaming officials maintain that there is nothing in the lease that explicitly blocks Vegas sportsbooks from offering their mobile betting apps at the new stadium.
When asked by ESPN whether or not this was accurate, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy simply stated that the board must “abide by League rules on the matter.” A clear answer as to whether or not sports fans will be able to place bets on their mobile devices while at the stadium has yet to be received.
Again, the NFL has not yet signed the lease which means they could assert provisions regarding the mobile issue and others. It has also been speculated as to whether or not the NFL will ask for all Raiders games to be excluded from Nevada sportsbooks altogether. Though NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been quoted as saying he would not push for this, he also has been somewhat contradictory regarding his opinion of Vegas sports betting in general.
Meeting The 2020 Deadline
The Las Vegas Stadium Authority has overcome their first hurdle by being able to get the lease signed by Thursday’s deadline. The NFL owners are meeting May 22nd – May 24th and the goal was to have the lease reviewed during this timeframe rather than having to wait until their next meeting in October. Had the stadium authority not come to an agreement, the anticipated completion date of the project would have been pushed to 2021.
Anticipating the approval of NFL owners, the authority has now created a 42-month preliminary deadline for the Raiders stadium. The construction of the estimated $1.9 billion, 65,000 seat football stadium is expected to be finished in June 2020. Even if both parties sign the lease within the coming days, officials have three and a half years to establish clarity regarding the overall betting policy on the Oakland Raiders.
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