The spectacular news the NFL’s Oakland Raiders will soon relocate to metro-Las Vegas has brought forth much analysis by the national financial and sports media.
If anything is to be gleaned from most of this prattle it’s that many of those spouting off on Las Vegas, gambling, sports wagering and even the NFL have little idea of what they are talking about.
I’m reminded of the finest movie ever made, “The Godfather,” when brother Fredo tells Michael Corleone, now running the family and wanting to consolidate its Nevada holdings, “You don’t come to Las Vegas and talk to a man like Moe Green like that.”
Although things ended up poorly for Alex Rocco playing Moe Green, the point is the NFL can hardly come to Las Vegas and tell Steve Wynn, Sheldon Adelson, Jim Murren, Phil Ruffin and other major players what to do. Sports wagering is perfectly legal and regulated in Nevada. The NFL owners, whether they want to admit it in public or not, know this and are ready for it.
The NFL can still make and enforce any rules they like for their players, but that has nothing to do with the general public wagering where it is accepted and legal, as well.
They can send Commissioner Roger Goodell out all they like and let him look foolish in public, but it means nothing. In Nevada, when you buy something for $750 million it stays bought.
It’s sheer idiocy to think the NFL can come to southern Nevada with any hopes of trying to get our sportsbooks not to allow wagering on NFL games, especially when many NFL teams have relationships with Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) sites. It’s now being reported that some teams are curtailing their DFS relationships, perhaps to be ready for Las Vegas-style sports wagering. Any sane person knows DFS is gambling, whether they want to call it that or not. Such a move away from DFS reduces some of the hypocrisy of the situation.
The Raiders organization on behalf of the NFL is accepting our $750 million in tax dollars, our civic commitment to the team and our goodwill. Despite what you may have heard or read, there’s no chance there will be any curtailment of NFL football wagering in any fashion. I even look for the new stadium to have a slot lounge, although it might only be open before and after the game. I also envision those in attendance to be able to use their mobile apps to wager.
If a major Las Vegas casino company pays a record amount for stadium naming rights, would that also include operating rights for a sportsbook inside?
It was suggested by ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio that the league was concerned about players staying in Las Vegas Strip casino/resorts during the days before a game. Although Mr. Paolantonio is usually a cogent and logical voice examining all things NFL, this is patently ridiculous because there exist major distractions in any NFL city, and nearby gambling in most of them. Mr. Paolantonio embarrassed himself and ESPN. His train of thought must have become derailed in the early morning interview I heard.
Many other commentators made similar statements that had no relationship with the facts of the matter. This is especially sad when any Nevada sportsbook director would have gladly have been interviewed, thus providing some real perspective on the Raiders’ arrival and what it means to southern Nevada in general and sports wagering in particular.
New Orleans Saints quarterback and team leader Drew Brees told Pro Football Talk’s (profootballtalk.com) Mike Florio there is little difference between his city and Las Vegas. Brees pointed out to Florio there’s lots of fun and gambling in both cities. Brees didn’t mention it, but he knows individuals can bet on games in New Orleans, too. You just use an illegal bookie instead of a licensed, regulated wagering operation. Mr. Florio must know that, too.
Many of these commentators with their instant analysis would have been better off being quiet or at least contacting someone like the sagacious Brent Musburger at VSiN to assist them in collecting their thoughts on the subject. Were these commentators just dumb, meaning they had no real knowledge of what they were talking about, or stupid, meaning they had knowledge of the subject but were incapable of processing it properly?
Either way, it’s time for the sports and financial media outside of Southern Nevada to gain some more information on the subject at hand.
We’d all be better served if they did.