Sheldon Adelson Backs Out of Deal to Help Move Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas

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Sheldon Adelson, the man who has fought long and hard to get online poker banned in America, was all set to be a hero in Las Vegas.

He was supposed to be the guy who helped bring the NFL’s Oakland Raiders to Sin City.

Sheldon Adelson Oakland Raiders
Sheldon Adelson has decided he won’t invest $650 million to help move the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas. (Image: Forbes)

Adelson originally planned to commit $650 million of his own money towards the $1.9 billion needed to fund a new football stadium. The state of Nevada and the Raiders were going to chip in the remaining balance.

In recent weeks, rumors began swirling that the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation would back out of the deal. On Monday, those rumors turned out to be true. Adelson is out. In the end, he wasn’t able to come to an agreement with the Raiders on compensation.

“It’s clear the Raiders have decided their path for moving to Las Vegas does not include the Adelson family,” the casino mogul said in a public statement. “So, regrettably, we will no longer be involved in any facet of the stadium discussion.”

Raiders Still Need a Home

On January 19, Raiders owner Mark Davis applied for relocation to Las Vegas with the NFL. He can’t move the team unless at least 23 of the league’s 32 owners approve the relocation.

The Raiders have one year left on the lease at Oakland Alameda Coliseum. That means the team must either find a new home or re-up the current lease at a stadium the team desperately wants to leave.

Although Adelson has backed out of the Las Vegas deal, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported the January 19th relocation filings didn’t include the casino owner.

ESPN is also reporting the Raiders are now willing to cover Adelson’s planned $650 million investment. If the organization sticks to that commitment, the Raiders would only need the approval from enough NFL owners to relocate the franchise to Las Vegas in 2019.

No Hard Feelings

Sheldon Adelson has rubbed many people in the poker world the wrong way. He was the catalyst behind the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), a proposed bill that would have made online gambling illegal in the United States.

The bill, despite numerous attempts to get it through the federal government, never passed. But many poker players consider Adelson the man partially responsible for the current online poker situation in America. As it stands, only three states have legal online poker sites (New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware).

Some in the poker community may never forgive the billionaire for his anti-online poker crusade, but the Governor of Nevada doesn’t have any hard feelings for the way the Raiders deal ended.

“I would like to thank the Adelson family for their role in bringing a publicly-owned stadium to Las Vegas,” Governor Brian Sandoval said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that they were unable to come to terms with the Raiders. The terms of the legislation do not change and the state’s contribution will not increase as a result of this announcement. I am hopeful that the Raiders are working to secure the additional funds that would have been provided by the Adelson family.”

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