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Inside Gaming: NFL Owners Approve Raiders Move to Vegas

A rendering of the new Las Vegas NFL stadium (MANICA architecture)
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  • NFL owners approve the Raiders' move to Las Vegas, and casinos' shares immediately enjoy an increase.

  • Nevada casinos' gaming win was down overall for February, though up so far for the fiscal year.

Inside Gaming this week is Vegas-centric, starting with the big news of NFL owners voting to approve the Oakland Raiders' desire to move the franchise to the Nevada desert, then moving on to talk about February revenue numbers for Nevada and now another set of LV casinos taking away free parking.

Casino Shares Increase After NFL Owners Approve Raiders Move to Vegas

This week owners of the 32 National Football League franchises voted to approve the Oakland Raiders' proposal to relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada. At the Annual League Meeting on Monday, the vote went 31-1 in support of the proposal, with the Miami Dolphins' owner Stephen Ross casting the only negative vote.

It was in January the Raiders' first filed relocation papers with the league, a move that followed an October vote by Nevada lawmakers in favor of legislation allowing for an increase in hotel room taxes designed to provide funds to be used toward the building of a new stadium.

Cost of a new 65,000-seat stadium has been estimated at $1.9 billion. (That's another rendering of the project above, via MANICA Architecture.) Raiders owner Mark Davis has pledged $500 million toward the project, while the legislation passed last fall is designed to raise another $750 million.

Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson had previously pledged $650 million to help make up the difference, but withdrew his support early last month while declaring "he had been shut out of talks" regarding planning for the stadium. At the time, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman stated she was confident other investors would be found.

Those looking forward to watching professional football in Sin City will need to be patient, however, as the construction of the stadium in Las Vegas isn't expected to be completed and ready until the 2020 season. In other words, the Raiders will definitely be staying in Oakland for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and possibly a third year as well although NFL.com reports NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league "would look into potential venues for 2019."

Of more immediate interest to industry watchers is how the owners' vote and anticipation regarding the new NFL franchise in Las Vegas appears to be producing a positive effect for casino-based businesses located in the city.

According to MarketWatch, shares of several companies increased on Tuesday in response to the news, with MGM Resorts International, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts all up for the day and week. "Other casino stocks were also higher," the report adds, noting slight upticks for Boyd Gaming Corp., Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., Penn National Gaming Inc. and Pinnacle Entertainment Inc..

Talking to the Wall Street Journal, Wynn Resorts Ltd. CEO Steve Wynn characterized the move as significant. "You can talk about all the acts that come to Las Vegas and all the concerts," said Wynn to the WSJ, "but they don't get televised to tens of millions of people."

Learn more about how the significance of the Raiders' move to Vegas to the industry over at MarketWatch.

Nevada Gaming Win Down for February

Speaking of gaming in the Silver State, this week the Nevada Gaming Control Board released the numbers for February which showed an almost 4.5 percent decrease in the state's casinos' gaming win year-over-year.

Statewide casinos totaled a $945.6 million gaming win for the month, down from $989.9 million in February 2016. What are reasons for the decline? Blame the calendar in part says Michael Lawton, senior research analyst with the Tax and License Division of the NGCB.

VEGASINC shares Lawton's observations about how "February is a really difficult comparison" to make year-over-year. "First of all, last year was a leap year and there was an extra day," noted Lawton. "Also, Chinese New Year (a big holiday for Asian gamblers) was entirely in February in 2016. In 2017, it occurred mostly in January" which lessened its impact on February business this year.

Lawton also noted how longer trends were positive, and indeed for the state's casinos the gaming win has increased for the fiscal year so far (July through February) by 2.71 percent.

The different regions demarcated by the NGCB's report show declines for February but increases for the fiscal year to date, including the Strip, Clark County, the Boulder Strip and North Las Vegas.

Find more February number-crunching at VEGASINC.

Caesars Begins Implementing Pay-to-Park at Vegas Casinos

Finally, we noted here in December how Caesars Entertainment Corp. had announced plans to join a growing trend on the Strip and discontinue free parking at eight of its Las Vegas casinos.

That plan has finally begun to be implemented with self-parking customers already being charged at the Linq. Next week the same will start occuring at Caesars Palace, Paris and Bally's.

Those with Nevada driver's licenses are exempt from having the pay the fees if they self-park, but will have to pay for valet service reports the Las Vegas Sun. Eventually the change will be made as well at Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell, The Flamingo and Harrah's.

Meanwhile, those looking to attend this summer's World Series of Poker at the Caesars-owned Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casinoespecially those who are planning to play tournaments within a budget — needn't worry about the new policy. The WSOP was quick to remind everyone this week that the new pay-to-park policy is not going to be in effect at the Rio:

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