PHOENIX, Ariz. – At the annual league meetings in Phoenix, NFL owners voted 31-to-1 in approval of the Oakland Raiders move to Las Vegas. The franchise has spent 45 of its 58 seasons in Oakland and intends to play the 2017 and 2017 seasons in California.
“My father always said, ‘the greatness of the Raiders is in its future,’ and the opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is a significant step toward achieving that greatness,” team owner Mark Davis said in a statement. “I would like to thank Commissioner Goodell, the National Football League and my 31 partners. I would also like to thank Governor Brian Sandoval and the Nevada Legislature for their commitment. Finally, I would like to thank Sheldon Adelson for his vision and leadership, without which this project never would have become a reality.”
“The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA,” Davis added. “We know that some fans will be disappointed and even angry, but we hope that they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches and staff. We plan to play at the Coliseum in 2017 and 2018, and hope to stay there as the Oakland Raiders until the new stadium opens. We would love nothing more than to bring a championship back to the Bay Area.”
This move follows numerous attempts by the franchise to build/upgrade its stadium situation in Oakland. In November, the Nevada Senate approved a tax increase to help fund a new $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas.
A major storyline of this move is sports gambling, a legal activity in Nevada. In February, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the following:
“We’ve always said we are going to maintain the integrity of our game by making sure there is a separation between sports, gambling and the NFL,” Goodell said during his Super Bowl 51 press conference in Houston. “That is something we think is imperative for us. We want our fans to know the game they are seeing unfold on the field does not have any undue influence. We recognize gambling occurs out in marketplaces. But this is something from our standpoint we have rules that are in place. The Raiders have not asked for us to compromise those rules as it relates to our policies. We will continue to have that separation going forward. I don’t see an ownership position in a team from a casino. That is not something consistent with our policies. Not likely a stadium either.”
The Miami Dolphins are the only team to vote against the Raiders move.