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Al Davis dreamed of moving Raiders to Vegas

Al Davis, the iconic maverick owner of the Oakland Raiders, didn’t live long enough to see his dream of putting his team in Las Vegas come to fruition.

But his son, Mark Davis, might if Sheldon Adelson‘s Las Vegas Sands Corp. and UNLV succeed in building a proposed stadium and landing the Raiders as a tenant.

Adelson, chairman and CEO of Sands, and Mark Davis are scheduled to meet today, Review-Journal gaming writer Howard Stutz reported Thursday.

Andy Abboud, senior vice president of government relations and community development for Las Vegas Sands, told Stutz the company has been in contact with other NFL teams, too.

A $1 billion domed stadium is being proposed by Las Vegas Sands, UNLV and other investors on a 42-acre site east of MGM Grand. Abboud said the city needs a stadium with at least 65,000 seats to compete for the tourist dollars.

Al Davis, who died in 2011, envisioned the Raiders-in-Vegas scenario decades ago.

“He would have loved to have moved the Raiders here. He told me that many times,” former Raiders quarterback David Humm told me in July 2014.

“He loved this town,” said Humm, who attended many of Al Davis’ Fourth of July Las Vegas birthday parties. “But there’s no way commissioner Pete Rozelle would allow it because of the sports books and the gambling.”

It remains to be seen if the NFL would approve the move.

It was 11 years ago this week that the NFL rejected the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s latest bid to run ads during the Super Bowl with the iconic “What happens here, stay here” slogan. The popular campaign doesn’t mention gambling, but the league continued to distance itself from anything that suggested wagering.

But times have changed. After decades of pushing back on gambling, several sports leagues, including the NFL, have been striking deals with gambling-related companies.

News of the Raiders being courted by Adelson, one of the world’s richest men, and Las Vegas was welcomed.

“No one would be happier,” said Las Vegas-based sports talk host J.T. the Brick, an 18-year employee of the Raiders.

But, he said, “it sounds pretty rumorish.”

The NFL earlier this month rejected the Raiders’ proposal to move back to Los Angeles. The sports talk host is convinced they will stay in Oakland when the dust settles.

The Review-Journal is owned by a limited liability company controlled by the Adelson family, the major owners of Las Vegas Sands.

The scene and heard

Chet Buchanan and the Morning Zoo at KLUC-radio, FM 98.5, have been nominated for best station talent by the upcoming World Wide Radio Summit in Los Angeles. They are up against three syndicated shows and Ryan Seacrest‘s former partner, Ellen K.

Tickets for the April 3 “Conversations With Norm” celebrating the 90th birthday of comedy legend Shecky Greene are now on sale. It is being held at 2 p.m. in Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Call 702-749-2000 or go to www.thesmithcenter.com. …

Longtime Las Vegas publicist Norm Johnson is the guest speaker at the Southern Nevada Casino Collectibles Club on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the El Cortez. He will discuss the upcoming Mint 400, the race he created in 1967 when he was the publicist for the Mint Hotel. The race is being held March 9-12. Writer Hunter S. Thompson helped immortalize the Mint 400 when he covered the 1971 event and wrote about it in his popular novel “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” …

The Tropicana pool venue, which has been checked out by the likes of Elvis Presley and Sean Connery, is joining the day club concept. Look for the announcement soon.

On this day

Jan. 31, 2012: The MGM Grand closes its famed Lion Habitat after 23 years. The 5,000-square-foot, glass-enclosed area featured five lions at a time for visitors to examine up close. The exhibit was a tribute to MGM’s logo, and the lions were said to be descendants of Leo, who roared to open every movie.

Feb. 1, 2005: Sky Las Vegas Condominiums launches an ad campaign proclaiming, “Dear Tara Reid, Come Let It All Hang Out,” a tacky reference to her wardrobe malfunction on a red carpet the year before. She sues, claiming her reputation was damaged, and the parties settle later in the year.

Sightings

Hockey icon Wayne Gretzky, celebrating his 55th birthday Tuesday night at Lavo at Palazzo hotel-casino with wife Janet and a daughter.

The punch line

Gisele Bundchen shared a picture of Tom Brady after he lost the NFL playoffs. It was a heartbreaking photograph of a handsome man being consoled by a Brazilian supermodel.” — Conan O’Brien

— Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. On Twitter: @Norm_Clarke

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