Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has withdrawn his support for a deal to build a $1.9 billion stadium that would help relocate the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas.
Adelson, who had pledged up to $650m towards construction of the stadium, pulled out of the deal after being excluded from talks before the team sent a lease proposal last week to the public board that will own the 65,000-seat stadium.
“We were not only excluded from the proposed agreement,” Adelson said. “We weren’t even aware of its existence.”
Adelson said in October he was prepared to walk away from a deal if the terms offered by the team, owned by Mark Davis, did not improve.
The Raiders released a statement shortly after Adelson’s announcement.
“The Raiders deeply appreciate the efforts of the Adelson family to bring the Raiders to Las Vegas. We know this project could not have advanced to this point without them. The Raiders remain steadfast in honoring (team owner) Mark Davis’ commitment to Governor (Brian) Sandoval and the State of Nevada to pursue relocation to Las Vegas.”
Adelson’s withdrawal means the Raiders will go forward with a decision pending from NFL owners who must approve the move.
It also means the team won’t have to ask team owners to waive a rule prohibiting casino operators from having ownership roles in teams.
Team officials said previously they were enlisting investment bank Goldman Sachs for the project.
The lease proposal would have the Raiders operate the domed stadium that would be built at a site yet to be decided, probably just off the Las Vegas Strip.
Any relocation to Las Vegas must be approved by 24 of the 32 NFL team owners. A vote is expected during league meetings in March in Phoenix.