stadiums

Sheldon Adelson And the Raiders Get Their $750 Million in Public Funding For New Las Vegas Stadium

Taxpayer subsidy for one America's richest men and one of its worst NFL franchises sneaks through Nevada legislature.

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Score another one for crony capitalist boondoogles.

The Nevada legislature narrlowly approved $750 million in public financing for a new NFL stadium to be operated by Sheldon Adelson's casino corporation, Las Vegas Sands, and the NFL's Raiders, who currently call Oakland (Calif.) home. Adelson's group will contribute $650 million to the stadium (they will not be sharing profits with the public), and the Raiders will pay $500 million toward the construction of their new home field (which will not be granting free admission to Las Vegas taxpayers).

The plan was originally proposed by The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee (SNTIC)—a group of "key community leaders and stakeholders," a.k.a. politicians and well-connected Las Vegas businesspeople—as a means of providing economic stimulus to a city which already relies primarily on tourism and its casino businesses to stay financially solvent. Nevada's Republican Governor Brian Sandoval, who created SNTIC in 2015 and vociferously supports public financing for the new stadium, is expected to make the deal official with his signature today.

ESPN reports, "A cadre of lobbyists for the project strained over the past week to overcome conservative anxiety over a tax increase and liberal objections to subsidizing one of the world's richest men, eventually securing the bare minimum of Assembly votes to hit the required two-thirds majority." The official legislative tally was 28-13 in the state Assembly and 16-5 in the Senate in support of the stadium deal.

In its article reporting on the deal's approval, The New York Times wrote breathlessly concluded, "Laborers testified they needed the estimated 25,000 construction jobs the project would bring after the industry was devastated in the recession. The stadium is expected to bring 14,000 permanent jobs to the Las Vegas area."

Unmentioned by the Times is that nearly every publicly-subsidized stadium project promises thousands of "permanent jobs" which never come to be, nor that the public is on the hook for the $750 million whether or not the increase in Las Vegas hotel taxes raises sufficient revenue, nor that Gov. Sandoval wants over $300 million in budget cuts to offset losses from other under-performing taxes, nor the fact that no evidence exists to back up the idea that publicly-financed stadiums add any financial benefits to their communities.

Also unmentioned by the erstwhile "newspaper of record" is that Sheldon Adelson currently ranks 14th on Forbes' richest people in the U.S. list, and doesn't need to dip into the public coffers of a struggling city to get his buildings built.

Read more Reason coverage on publicly financed stadiums here, and watch a Reason TV video on the subject below.

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37 responses to “Sheldon Adelson And the Raiders Get Their $750 Million in Public Funding For New Las Vegas Stadium

  1. Foul! Libertarians aren’t allowed to use the oxymoronic term “crony capitalist”.

  2. I saw a fan holding a sign at the Raiders game to the effect of “vote for the tax increase, locals won’t pay it.”

    1. It is amazing how much the populations of metro areas built on tourism hate tourists and justify any reason to turn the screws on them.

    2. it doesnt take a genius to figure out why billionaires like Adelson would grab at the opportunity to get free money from the state. and its no big mystery why politicians would purchase reelection support from Adelson & his cronies using taxpayer money. I also understand how these payments can continue to get passed in city after city regardless of public support – local politics are often opaque, voter turnout is low, corruption is high & local votes are driven by special interests, lunatics & the elderly. But I have a very difficult time understanding how a member of the voting public could support this sort of thing. the losses are obvious, the costs are great & the only people who benefit are the handful of vile scum who ink the deal. Id hace better luck trying to imagine the inner life of an insect than to put myself in the shoes of a sucker who has so internalized his own slavery that he would bombastically assert in public the theft of his own money to finance the business losses of billionaires.

  3. If I was in a room with Hillary, Trump and Sheldon Adelson and had a gun with two bullets, I’d shoot Adelson twice.

    He pumped another couple of million into trying to defeat medical marijuana in Florida recently, just like he did in 2014.

    1. NOTE: SimonComments Inc. does not condone, nor promote the murder of policitians (no matter how richly they deserve it).

      I think the best option would be one bullet for Trump, one for Adelson, and a mortal pistol-whipping for Madame Felony.

      1. Hi Preet. How they hangin?

        1. My guess is “small and shriveled.”

      2. just beat all of them to death with the pistol…way more satisfying, save the bullets for something really important…

    2. He pumped another couple of million into trying to defeat medical marijuana in Florida recently, just like he did in 2014.

      2 million dollars to defeat medical MJ in a state he doesn’t even live in. What an asshole.

  4. Does this mean the Raiders will win a home game?

    1. bet on it?

  5. One other thing. I know an earlier Reason article had mentioned a conflict between a service union and the Adelson group. The service union wanted the convention center to be expanded, while Adelson wanted the stadium money.

    According to an article I read yesterday, there will be money for the convention center AND the stadium. Everyone wins (except the taxpayers, who are getting bent over…again).

    1. HOTEL TAXES are magical unicorns that poop money.

      1. Sure, I can’t think of a better idea than to add arbitrary taxes to you ONLY industry (especially when it’s facing new competition from every corner because other states want their own magical unicorns and think casinos are it).

        1. oops, your only industry.

  6. I was in Vegas for the first time last month and never ever want to go back.

    1. Vegas is mildly entertaining for about 48 hours max, then it is time to leave.

      1. Vegas is mildly entertaining for about 48 hours max

        The novelty of blackjack and hookers wears off after a while.

    2. I was told by a co-worker how awesome Las Vegas is. I’ll never waste my time going there again unless I’m passing through, but then I live in San Diego.

  7. “”””14,000 permanent jobs to the Las Vegas area”””

    That’s a lot of hot dog and beer sellers.

    How did they get this number, dart board or picking numbers out of a hat?

    1. Add to that the 25,000 construction jobs. That’s like 50 guys doing the work and 24,950 standing around in hard hats.

    2. Hint: it wasn’t a hat they pulled it from – – – –

      1. more of that magical unicorn poop?

  8. “Sheldon, meet Chipper. Chipper, Sheldon.”

  9. C’mon, how can you not laugh at Las Vegas being on the losing end of a sucker bet?

  10. They bet on black, but it will come up red?

  11. I once had respect for Sheldon Adelson as he was the first westerner to bet big on Macau. He also went allin Las Vegas Sands during the great recession resulting in huge swings of his net worth from 20 billion to 1 billion and back again.

    However he is the very definition of “crony capitalist” In addition to the Raider’s deal he is the #1 lobbyist against legalizing online poker. This is the peak of hypocrisy since he has made his fortune in gambling. He argument is that gambling is great when it happens in his casinos but when it happens on the internet it will spiral out of control. Seriously, this is his argument. Most internet gamblers are casual whereas the casino whales thanks in part to the “services” of free flights and suites and free flowing alcohol are far more likely to be the ones who ruin their lives.

    1. don’t forget those hookers either…

  12. RE: Sheldon Adelson And the Raiders Get Their $750 Million in Public Funding For New Las Vegas Stadium
    Taxpayer subsidy for one America’s richest men and one of its worst NFL franchises sneaks through Nevada legislature.

    Well, let’s face it.
    The working people of Nevada have too much excess capital lying around not doing anything anyway. So they might as give it to the State of Nevada so they can build a stadium that can only be used eight times a year.
    It’s money well spent.
    I’m sure everyone here can sleep at night knowing Adelson won’t have to shell out a penny for the stadium. Let’s face it. The Nevada state legislature made the wise move by not allowing the people of the Silver State to a referendum to vote on it.
    Just another example of government paternalism doing what it does best.

    1. “a stadium that can only be used eight times a year”

      I see you forgot the two spectacular exhibition games that will be played every year.

      1. You’re right.
        Please forgive me.
        I’m a product of the public school system.


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  14. The Raiders are a perfect fit for ‘Vegas, what with the double-dealing, sleeze, and transient nature of the town and team.

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