It looks like the Raiders are still betting big on Las Vegas.
During a meeting of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board, Raiders president Marc Badain reassured everyone that the team still plans to move to Nevada despite the fact that billionaire Sheldon Adelson has backed out of the $1.9 billion stadium deal.
The billionaire casino mogul was expected to contribute as much as $650 million to the Vegas stadium project, with the rest of the funding scheduled to come from the Raiders and the NFL ($500 million), along with a tax increase on Vegas hotels ($750 million).
With Adelson out, the Raiders also lost the chance to finance the $650 million deal through Goldman Sachs, a company that has worked often with Adelson. Despite those losses, Badain said on Thursday that "financing will not be an issue."
"You'd be surprised how many people are interested in funding this project," Badain said, via the Las Vegas Sun.
Although Badain didn't specifically name any company that might jump on board, the Raiders president did say that "multiple financial institutions" have said they're interested in financing the remaining $650 million needed to start the project.
Badain doesn't view Adelson's exit from the project as an obstacle to getting a deal done.
"We're in an industry where we're used to plugging along, and we're used to having starts and stops," Badain said. "Mark Davis made a commitment to Gov. Sandoval, and we intend to see that through."
As CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported Jan. 30, the Raiders' biggest problem with finding someone to finance the stadium is that Adelson has a lot of clout in Vegas and he's likely going to use that clout to hurt the Raiders since he feels like the team double-crossed him.
For the move to happen, the Raiders are going to have to convince 23 other owners they can afford to take on $650 million in debt to finance the stadium, they're also going to have to eventually reveal the company that will be financing that money. Davis is definitely going to have to lobby hard to convince the other NFL owners that moving the team to Vegas is the best move to make for the league.
The good news for Davis is that with Adelson out, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell might support the project. Goodell said at the Super Bowl that the league didn't want a casino owner involved with owning the team or financing a stadium.
"The Raiders have not asked for us to compromise those rules as it relates to our policies," Goodell said when asked about the league's policy on a casino owner also owning part of the stadium or team. "We will continue to have that separation going forward. I don't see an ownership position in a team from a casino. That is not something consistent with our policies. Not likely a stadium either."
If the Raiders' move to Vegas is approved, the team is hoping to sign a lease with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority that would call for the Raiders to pay only $1 a year in rent. That one dollar rent is reportedly what rankled Adelson and caused him to back out of the deal. Apparently, Davis never showed the proposed lease, which was extremely favorable to the Raiders, to Adelson.
Even if they get someone to finance the final $650 million, the Raiders stadium project also has one other potential obstacle. As reported by the Nevada Independent, a member of congress is proposing a "No Tax Subsidies for Stadiums Act." If the bill were to pass, the $750 million in public funding for the stadium would potentially no longer be tax exempt, which could reduce the public portion of the project's funding.