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Could The Raiders' Move To Las Vegas Effect Casino Stocks?

Benjamin Rains

The NFL officially announced its approval on Monday for the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas. City officials pushed heavily for the Raiders’ relocation from the Bay Area. Now casinos and resorts could see a boost as the most popular sport in America heads to “Sin City.”

The Raiders have already committed $500 million towards building a new $1.9 billion state-of-the-art, 65,000-seat domed stadium. Another $750 million will go towards the construction of the new stadium via a small hotel room tax hike passed by the Nevada Legislature in October. The $750 million public tax subsidy is the largest ever for an NFL stadium.

The Raiders’ Vegas move received nearly unanimous approval from the NFL. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas will share the new stadium with the Raiders. But the brand-new Vegas football stadium is not scheduled to open until 2020.

“Sin City” power players helped make the move possible. "I would also like to thank Governor Brian Sandoval and the Nevada Legislature for their commitment. Finally, I would like to thank Sheldon Adelson for his vision and leadership, without which this project never would have become a reality," Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement.

Bank of America BAC also pledged to help finance the deal. Still, the Raiders will likely spend at least the next few seasons in Oakland where the team holds two one-year options at the Oakland Coliseum.

Since the move was officially announced on Monday, some of the biggest and most profitable Vegas casino stocks have gone up. Wynn Resorts Ltd.’s WYNN stock is up 2.44% to $114.65 per share on Monday. MGM Resorts International’s MGM stock is up 3.38% to $26.58 per share and is a Zacks Rank #3 (HOLD).

Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s LVS stock is up 1.82% to $56.63 per share and is a Zacks Rank #3 (HOLD). Melco Crown Entertainment Limited’s MPEL stock is up 1.71% to $19.04 per share and is a Zacks Rank 3# (HOLD).

The city is currently working out how it will help generate fan attendance and profit from its new NFL team and stadium. But the NFL’s long-standing position against sports gambling could hinder the profitability for Vegas and its casinos. "We are not changing our position as it relates to legalized sports gambling," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told MMQB.com. "We still don't think it's a positive thing."

Nevada Gaming Control regulations stipulate that a governing body can request that sportsbooks not accept or pay bets on "any event, regardless of where it is held, involving a professional team whose home field, a court, or base is in Nevada or any event played in Nevada involving a professional team."

An estimated $150 billion to $400 billion is wagered on sports in the U.S. every year, and it is estimated that less than 5% of that money is bet in Nevada.

Other Vegas Pro Sports Plays

The privately funded 20,000-seat, $375 million T-Mobile Arena opened on April 6, 2016. The arena was constructed with the hopes to draw an NBA or NHL team to Vegas.

Months later, in November, the NHL officially announced the Vegas Golden Knights would become the 31st NHL franchise and the first ever major-league sports franchise in the city. The Vegas Golden Knights will make their NHL debut in the 2017-18 season.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship also signed in early March a deal with T-Mobile Arena to have its Vegas-based fights exclusively at the new arena. Vegas-based UFC will host at least four events every year at the arena. "We plan to do tons of amazing fights here over the next 100 years," UFC president Dana White told ESPN. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

T-Mobile Arena is also set to host a ton of other major non-sporting events that are sure to help draw people and money to Vegas, including the 2017 Billboard Music Awards.

But with a fancy new NFL stadium in place by 2020, a “Sin City” Super Bowl could be on the horizon.

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