So, according to the Sheldon Adelson Review-Journal (SAR-J, pronounced sarge), NFL executives in Houston for the “Big Game,” as all the ads say because they can’t say Super Bowl, say that $1.9 billion price tag for a 65,000-seat domed stadium in Las Vegas to house the Oakland Raiders might be “exorbitant.”
Now, who’d’ve thought that?
No other stadium has cost that much so far, the paper says, though one being built is estimate to top $2 billion.
Back in October when lawmakers were contemplating Senate Bill 1, which proposed to raise room taxes to help pay for such a stadium — the special session vote was 16-5 in the Senate and 28-13 in the Assembly, satisfying the two-thirds requirement — someone wrote:
The stadium is being pushed by billionaire casino and newspaper owner Sheldon Adelson who promises to shell out $650 million from his rather deep pockets to pay for construction. The National Football League and the Oakland Raiders are supposed to contribute $500 million toward construction. The $750 million public sop is the largest ever by any public entity for a sports facility in this country.
All profits from stadium operations accrue strictly to the private investors.
At one point during the Assembly hearings, Assemblyman Ira Hansen of Sparks asked what happens if the stadium comes in under the $1.9 billion estimate. Would the taxpayers still be on the hook for the full $750 million?
Steve Hill of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, which had touted the project, replied: “Technically that’s correct.”
Before Hill could elaborate, Hansen cut him off with a terse: “Thank you.”
So, if the project comes in closer to the original estimate of $1 billion, the taxpayers will pick up 75 percent of the cost and the billionaires keep their money.
Now that Adelson has walked away from the deal, might taxpayers be facing just such an outcome? The stadium proponents rejected a proposal to cap taxpayer funding at 39 percent of the actual cost. It was $750 million or no deal. Don’t forget the $900 million in tax dollars it will take to improve roadways to access the stadium.
The article in the paper asks the billion-dollar question: “Does (Oakland Raiders owner Mark) Davis really need the $650 million that was coming from the Adelsons, or does he need far less to build the Las Vegas stadium?”`