Sports

Viva Las Vegas for Raiders?

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis says Las Vegas is at the top of his list of a new home for his team, but other NFL owners are against a team in the gambling destination. ... Davis speaks during a news conference Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Oakland.
Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis says Las Vegas is at the top of his list of a new home for his team, but other NFL owners are against a team in the gambling destination. ... Davis speaks during a news conference Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Oakland. The Associated Press

With all the criticism the NFL has taken about its stance on gambling and daily fantasy sports, perhaps the last place a team might land is Las Vegas.

The league, for instance, prohibits players and team employees from visiting casinos that have sports betting during the season.

Yet one team, the Oakland Raiders, said it was still looking for ways to move to Las Vegas, even if many of the owners gathered here for their annual meeting sent word that they considered the idea a nonstarter.

Oakland was also taking a look at San Antonio for a possible new home, but Mark Davis, the team’s owner, put Las Vegas at the top of his list.

“I think the Raiders would maximize Las Vegas,” Davis said, speaking to reporters.

Davis repeated he had no interest in moving to St. Louis, which lost the Rams to Los Angeles, because it does not fit “the Raiders brand.”

Davis had been talking about moving the team because it was in limbo. The Raiders spent years trying to get a new stadium in Oakland, but the city said it had no money to help pay for the construction. Davis said there had been no progress in conversations with the city about finding another solution.

The Oakland Athletics, who share O.co Coliseum with the Raiders, have a long-term lease and did not appear to be in a rush to leave after their bid to move to San Jose was blocked.

Davis said that contrary to comments made by the mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf, there was not enough space to build a second football-only stadium next to O.co Coliseum.

“There’s nothing we can do,” Davis said of talks with the city. “We are in a holding pattern.”

So the Raiders were looking elsewhere. Davis said he would consider moving the team to Los Angeles to play in a stadium that the Rams are building as part of a $2.6 billion entertainment complex, but the Raiders must wait until the San Diego Chargers decide whether to move there first.

If the Chargers move to Los Angeles, Davis said, he will consider San Diego as a potential destination.

In the interim, the Raiders were looking at San Antonio, which Davis said was “on the radar right now,” and Las Vegas.

Many owners, though, rejected the idea of a team in Las Vegas because of the taint of gambling. Several of them said at the league’s annual meeting they preferred the Raiders remain in the Bay Area because of the team’s long history there, and because it was an affluent region and a top media market.

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