In an almost unanimous vote, thanks to Miami Dolphins owner Ross saying nay, the National Football League ownership decided to transfer the Raider Nation to the gambling capital of the world. Welcome to Las Vegas pro football; what happens here stays here. Or, does it?
The Oakland Raiders – one of the original AFL franchises, long-time bad boys of professional football, have set course to move the city that never sleeps. Da Raidas will finish out two more seasons in the Bay Area, before committing full time to a new facility in the heart of Las Vegas. So, with a team now playing half their games every year in the proverbial gamblers Mecca, how do the NFL hardliners feel about gambling on their games now?
There are hosts of gambling critics, each one having a little chuckle at the NFL’s expense. For nearly all of its existence, the National Football League has taken a staunch stance against both legal and unauthorized wagering on their contests. Oddly enough, all but one of a collection of some of the world’s wealthiest men chose to plant a team right smack dab in the middle of legalized gambling.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has gradually softened his tough rhetoric against gambling on NFL games shifting the focus of his quotes to an ambiguous insistence that he wants only to “maintain the integrity of the game”. Hearing that Goodell has changed his tune is really nothing too surprising, since he essentially does work for the same owners that almost unanimously approved the Raider’s relocation.
A stark contrast to what has been the NFL’s harsh position over the last few years. For the most strident critics of gambling, seems money talks and the concerns traditionalists have on a pro football franchise in Las Vegas is falling on deaf ears. Some critics feel that the allure of gambling, or maybe even trying to alter the gambling odds, will catch up to everyone if they’re exposed to it.
Most logical people accept the fact that any player or member of their family could easily find a venue for gambling. However, now an entire team will take up residence in the heart of organized gambling. Many say it will be only a matter of time before the proverbial ‘other shoe drops’.
They can’t forget also, that 8 times a season, one of the other teams is going to travel to Las Vegas, where they will spend at least a couple of days. With a team in Las Vegas, monitoring the NFL gambling rules will certainly find the road a bit more challenging.
Everyone will be watching over the next 24 months as the Raiders play out their time in Oakland, preparing for the permanent shift to a place where cards and slots are king. Be interesting to see how far the shift in policy reflects the newest professional football team. Welcome to the biggest stage in football Sin City. Say hello football fans to the Las Vegas Raiders.