How is this possible? Last year the NFL wouldn’t allow Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to hold a fantasy event attached to a Las Vegas casino, and this year an NFL owner is trying to move his team to Las Vegas.
Yes, folks, the Las Vegas Raiders might be more reality than fantasy.
Up until now, it has been tricky following the NFL’s intellectual train of thought when it comes to gambling:
●No to sports betting, yes to fantasy sports.
●No to Romo shaking hands with fantasy fans in Las Vegas, yes to 28 NFL teams having business deals with fantasy sites.
●No to playing games in Las Vegas, where you can bet on the NFL legally, yes to playing games in London, where you also can bet on the NFL legally.
The thing is, if the NFL weren’t so treacherous, disingenuous, unscrupulous, mendacious, insidious, duplicitous, hypocritical and unprincipled, it would be pretty funny.
Which brings us to the tragicomic Oakland Raiders — the wanderlusts of the NFL — who have gone from the distant Al Davis “Just win, baby” days to the current Mark Davis 13-consecutive-non-winning-seasons era. The younger Davis inherited the team after the death of his father, Al, in 2011 and, like his dad, spends most of his mornings searching the classified ads for a new football home.
After Davis lost out to the Rams on the one-way-ticket-to-L.A. sweepstakes, he looked elsewhere to relocate his band of under-.500 football troubadours. One day he was wandering across the desert and, like a half-witted Bugsy Siegel, stumbled upon Las Vegas.
Hello, First-and-Sin City!
Faster than you can say, “I’d like two tickets to Cirque du Soleil,” Las Vegas had a 65,000-seat domed stadium ready for delivery in 2020.
Cost: a mere $1.4 billion.
Davis says he will commit $500 million of his own money; actually, that includes a $200 million “loan” from the NFL.
The richest individual in Las Vegas, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, is good for another $150 million; sure, he’s worth $26 billion and could throw in a bit more, but the man’s got to eat.
So, that’s, um, $650 million. Where, oh where, will the remaining $750 million come from?
A tourism tax — a.k.a. “public money.”
Don’t get me started.
Too late — they’ve gotten me started.
As a part-time Las Vegas resident and longtime Las Vegas tourist, I would like to speak up for newly suffering visitors to a locale that once was so customer-friendly.
They’re already beating us in blackjack, but now they have made the blackjack rules less player-favorable so they can beat us worse. The $3.99 all-you-can-eat buffet has been supplanted by the $3.99 bottle of water. The most crooked taxicab fleet in America resides here. MGM — which owns half the casino properties on the Strip — will start to charge for parking next month.
And now the hotel-room tax will go up so Mark Davis can play ball in 72-degree air-conditioned comfort.
The old Las Vegas slogan, “What Happens Here, Stays Here,” should be replaced with, “It’s Not Your Money, It’s Ours.”
But even if the financing is finalized, would the NFL then okay a team in the gambling capital of the world? Well, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently blessed the concept, and Davis believes the NFL would approve relocation with “an offer they can’t refuse.”
(Maybe that involves a horse’s head that the Indianapolis Colts will donate.)
Besides, Las Vegas and the Raiders are made for each other — the town is filled with a mix of happy-go-lucky and desperate souls hoping to pull a life-changing slot, and Davis keeps spinning a roulette wheel looking for a fairy-tale ending. Frankly, the only better new home for the team might be the back yard of Carl Icahn’s East Hampton estate, and then they could be the New York Corporate Raiders.
Q. LeBron James said Steve Kerr should not have been NBA coach of the year. Does he have an argument? (Erik Hardy; Spokane, Wash.)
A. Well, Kerr was 34-5 with the Warriors. Considering LeBron got his own coach, David Blatt, fired when he was 30-11, I guess he has an argument.
Q. I read that people spend an average of 50 minutes a day on Facebook. Is the Slouch above the average or below the average? (Paul Baumstein; San Francisco)
A. I’m not on Facebook, but I’m definitely below average.
Q. Is it true that the NFL is suing the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) for exclusive commercial use of the term “tackle box?” (Terry Golden; Vienna)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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