May 26, 2016
By Evan Grossman
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said this week any talk of a Raiders move to Las Vegas is “premature.” But NFL teams are already neighbors with the gambling industry, according to the American Gaming Association.
The league has avoided doing business with the gambling industry and fears the integrity of NFL games would be compromised by the legalization of sports betting. That strong stance against the gaming industry hangs over the Raiders highly publicized push to relocate from Oakland to Vegas and putting a team so close to The Strip might be a little too close for comfort for the NFL.
But guess what? Most of the league already plays their home games a short drive from the nearest casino.
According to an AGA analysis meant to show there is no harm in putting athletes near casinos, 81 percent of NFL teams already play home games near a gambling den.
Six teams – the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns – play in stadiums within walking distance of a casino.
The Jets and Giants home field at MetLife Stadium is 30 miles from the nearest, Resorts World Casino in Queens.
“Casino gaming has become a mainstream industry that is welcomed by communities in 40 states, including in many markets with NFL and other professional sports franchises,” said Sara Rayme, AGA’s senior vice president of public affairs. “The facts show that concerns about athletes playing games in Las Vegas are dramatically misinformed. It’s time for a fresh look at the sports betting prohibition that is pushing widely popular sports betting activity to an illegal market that threatens the integrity of the sports we love.”
The AGA analysis found half of all NFL teams are located within 11 miles of the nearest casino, 100% of NFL players are within reach of illegal online sports betting sites and when the NFL plays games in London each year, they are playing in a city where regulated sports gambling is legal.
Raiders owner Mark Davis met with officials in Las Vegas and has been vocal about the possibility of relocating the team there. While Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones both support the idea of a Las Vegas team, Goodell has indicated that gambling would weigh heavy on any decisions the league makes about putting a team in Vegas.
“It’s very premature at this point,” Goodell said this week at the owners’ meetings in North Carolina. “One, there is not a proposal that at least Mark has presented to us. From my understanding there is not a proposal.
“And, two: there is a great deal of work to be done for ownership to make that kind of consideration, a variety of factors,” he said. “The stadium itself, what the stadium proposal is, the market itself, with market studies. We obviously, in Las Vegas, it’s been well documented, we have to examine the impact from a gambling standpoint. All of those things are an ownership decision and until we have that information, it’s pure speculation at this point in time.”
Original article: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/forget-las-vegas-nfl-teams-play-casinos-article-1.2650970