Las Vegas has quickly become a sports town, the casino capital now home to two of the big four pro sports leagues.
The Supreme Court’s 2018 repeal of the federal ban on sports betting resulted in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL embracing legal sports gambling. The landmark ruling more than three years ago resulted in the pro leagues allowing teams to consider Las Vegas as their home.
Nevada and Las Vegas’ widespread legal sports betting had previously caused integrity concerns among commissioners, but with sportsbooks now regulated in 26 states, plus DC, those apprehensions have largely been appeased.
The NHL expanded its league with the Vegas Golden Knights, and NFL Raiders owner Mark Davis opted to relocate his franchise to Southern Nevada.
Many in Las Vegas believe an MLB team is inevitable. The Raiders’ former sister pro team — the MLB Oakland Athletics — have been pondering a move to Las Vegas, but this week those odds presumably lengthened after the Alameda County Board of Supervisors backed a development project that would include a new baseball ballpark for the team.
The A’s team plans to announce whether they will stay in Oakland or move to Las Vegas sometime soon after the World Series concludes.
MLB in 2019 informed the Oakland A’s that the team’s current stadium — the Oakland Coliseum — is no longer adequate for Major League Baseball. It’s an opinion shared by many, including A’s owner John Fisher.
Fisher and A’s brass have recently made numerous trips to Las Vegas to explore potential sites to build a new ballpark. Projections for an MLB stadium in Las Vegas or nearby Henderson have run upwards of $1 billion.
Las Vegas officials celebrated the Athletics’ consideration of Southern Nevada. The Raiders playing their home games just west of the Strip at the $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium is already paying off for casino resorts by way of new visitors from sports fans who might not otherwise venture to Sin City. But this week’s Alameda County Board of Supervisors vote dampers the prospects of the A’s moving to Las Vegas.
“Today’s support from Alameda County makes it clear to Major League Baseball that our region is all-in to keep the A’s rooted in Oakland,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said on Tuesday. “We look forward to continue working with the A’s.”
Schaaf said approval from the Oakland City Council is still needed. The Alameda County Board approved a non-binding resolution that helps fund a new ballpark for the A’s at the Oakland’s Howard Terminal.
Let’s go Oakland! Tonight's vote by @AlamedaCounty paves a clear path to keep the A’s rooted in Oakland + build a world-class waterfront ballpark district that will benefit Bay Area residents for generations to come. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/6vU2EQn7Vq
— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) October 27, 2021
Still a Chance
Not all hope for Las Vegas bringing the A’s to town is lost. Team President Dave Kaval said following the county vote that the franchise is “under a lot of pressure from Major League Baseball” to decide quickly on where it will play in the coming years.
Time is running out,” Kaval said of Oakland’s politicking and deciding whether the city and county will help fund the facility.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred also weighed in.
“The affirmative vote is a positive step. The A’s will continue to pursue the Oakland project as well as the Las Vegas alternative,” the commissioner told ABC7 in California.
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