CHICAGO — The relocation of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas continued its journey Tuesday with no speed bumps.
NFL owners approved the stadium lease for the Raiders in Las Vegas, allowing the project to move forward toward an anticipated opening for the 2020 season.
The league had pushed the Stadium Authority Board in Las Vegas to complete the lease before owners met for their annual spring meetings here.
The SAB voted unanimously in favor of the lease for the $1.9 billion stadium off Russell Road on Thursday.
“In this process, it’s like another first down,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said. “We have a lot more to do, but this was a big step. Hopefully, getting shovels in the ground by the first of the year is possible now.”
A key point in the lease is a provision to prevent gaming at the stadium, but the issue of mobile gambling at games wasn’t broached at all by owners when discussing the lease.
“I’ve said before, I think with the Raiders playing in Las Vegas, there will be (gaming) policies that we will evaluate and look at what we can do differently, but also intelligently,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We will look at all those things over the next couple of years. (Mobile gaming) isn’t something we’ve addressed.
“Approving the lease is another positive step, obviously. We’re very excited about what Las Vegas offers. We know we have doubters and second-guessers, but that motivates us to get it right. We’re excited about the city Las Vegas is and the city it has potential to become. Our job now is to build a great stadium and do what’s necessary to make the Raiders successful there.”
Owners were satisfied enough with the lease in its present form, despite the need for agreements with UNLV over its shared use of the stadium and community benefits and securing the necessary studies and permits.
If the team can break ground by January — as Davis and team president Marc Badain said Tuesday remains their goal — the 30-month construction timeline would stay on track for completion.
Badain said the next step is to work with Clark County officials on completing a high impact project report, which assesses all environmental and entitlement issues. Also, in gaining NFL approval on the lease, the Raiders can move forward with financing of the project.
Contact Ed Graney at email@example.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.