It’s been a nice couple of months for the city for Las Vegas. The city is going to get an NHL team – the Golden Knights, who open play in the 2017-18 season – and now it’s going to get an NFL team. The NFL approved the Raiders’ relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas on Monday, with the move occurring as early as 2019.
Las Vegas can thank Gary Bettman and Roger Goodell for this, if they want, but there’s someone else more deserving of praise for bringing professional sports to Sin City.
“The people of Las Vegas, if they want to look at any one person to thank, it probably should be Adam Silver,” Buffalo News Bills writer Tim Graham said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “What the NBA did to really break down a lot of those stereotypes or to break through a lot of that stigma by putting the Summer League there, by putting the NBA All-Star Game there – they were the first one, and then everybody else could come in and not have to be the first one to have broken through that obstacle. Gambling is just not that big of a deal anymore, no matter what Roger Goodell says.”
An NFL in team in Las Vegas made a lot of sense for a lot of reasons for a lot of years, but it was always a non-starter because of gambling. That is no longer the case.
“The NFL is fully aware . . . that without gambling, the NFL is just another ball game, and I think the NFL is fully aware of this,” Graham said. “It’s why the NFL has embraced daily fantasy sports. It’s a way for them to do it because of the way legislation is drawn up. It’s just semantics. It allows the NFL to view fantasy sports as just fantasy sports, as though it’s putting together that baseball team (in the break room with co-workers) and you have one draft in one league as opposed betting on 50 different teams up to $5,000 per league for a quarter of a million dollars. It’s gambling. Different teams are involved in it. They’re investors. The leagues are behind it. They’re taking the advertising money. So I think Roger Goodell says those things only so he doesn’t seem like such an outward hypocrite. But I think that the NFL is fully aware that without gambling, people don’t care nearly as much about your sport.”