The NFL’s position on gambling has always been laughable to a lot of people in the gambling industry. For a billion dollar sports empire that owes a significant chunk of its popularity to gambling, the NFL’s “washing-our-hands-clean” philosophy on gambling is, to a word, hypocritical.
And unfortunately for the University of Las Vegas – Nevada, the league’s ridiculous stance on gambling will probably cost it NFL-sanctioned events in their proposed $900 million stadium. What a surprise.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that despite boosters of the proposed stadium mentioning the possibility of hosting NFL pre-season games and Pro Bowls, the likelihood of that actually happening is far smaller than Roger Goodell ceding his all-encompassing power as NFL commissioner. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in an email to the LVRJ that the reason the NFL will steer clear of the proposed domed stadium inside the UNLV campus is because sports gambling is legal in Las Vegas. Wait, sports gambling is legal in Vegas? How’d you know that, NFL?
The NFL’s apparent snubbing of the proposed stadium is undoubtedly disappointing, but not at all surprising, to those leading the charge in having the stadium built. It is a football stadium, after all, and the NFL deeming it as ‘off-limits’ will automatically submarine the purpose of building it in the first place. Mark Rosentraub, the University of Michigan consultant hired by UNLV to conduct an economic impact study on the feasibility of the stadium, referred to the NFL Pro Bowl and a pre-season game as potential events that could help generate as much as $400 million in revenue, money that can be used in local spending.
Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events, did acknowledge to the Review-Journal that no talks have been made between the university and NFL officials regarding the possibilities of the league moving the Pro Bowl to Las Vegas. But does he really have to, seeing as everybody and their mommas all know how that conversation’s going to play out?
Despite the admirable sense of optimism emanating from the people who are ambitious enough to want to see the NFL play a sanctioned-game in Las Vegas, these guys need to have a Plan B in place, at least as far as having a contingency should our beloved football league not budge on its “stance”. They can talk and negotiate with as many teams as they want about hosting even an exhibition game in the stadium, but without the consent of the league, those negotiations will amount to nothing more than a waste of time.
And speaking of its stance not to hold games where sports gambling is legal, does the NFL know that sports gambling is legal in London, the same city where they’ve been holding a regular season game since 2007?
Stay on top of your game, NFL.