Vegas says it’ll cut public Raiders stadium cost to $500m, would actually be $950m, math is dead

The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee met yesterday to discuss Sheldon Adelson’s proposed $1.4 billion Vegas stadium for the Oakland Raiders as promised, and it … suggested cutting $250 million from the public subsidies? Maybe?

On Thursday, [committee chair Steve] Hill announced a new proposal for funding that reduces the tax money used from $750 million to $500 million and raises the cut for the Las Vegas Sands and Majestic Realty from $650 million to $900 million.

“I’ll tell you point blank we’re disappointed by what we saw today,” said Marc Badian, Raiders president.

Or maybe not?

The panel, along with representatives from the Raiders, developer Majestic Realty Co. and Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp., heard again that the project won’t cost the public more than $750 million.

Thankfully, the committee has uploaded the actual proposal to their website, so we can check it out and try to figure out WTF is going on. The public funding in the “alternative” plan, as you can see, is actually listed as $550 million in stadium bonds, which would be covered by hotel taxes. (In Adelson’s plan, the hotel tax would pay for $750 million worth of bonds.) There would also be $7 million a year for operations and capital improvements, plus $3.5 million a year to repay UNLV for lost events revenue at their current stadium, for a present value of about another $150 million.

Then there is the tax increment financing portion, wherein sales, ticket, and business taxes on the stadium and practice facility would be kicked back to Adelson and Raiders owner Mark Davis, amounting to … it doesn’t actually say how much this would be, but I previously estimated it at around $250 million. So we’re at $950 million in public cost — or  $800 million if you don’t include the future operations and other expenses, though you really should — which either way is a whole lot more than $500 million.

In essence what the committee has proposed is to say to Adelson’s crew: Dudes, you’re getting almost a billion dollars, let the tax increment money be part of that instead of asking for it on top. This is enough to make the private partners “disappointed” (they were hoping to have their subsidies and eat them too), but not enough to stop this from being the most expensive public NFL subsidy in history. It would be pretty sweet, though, if the Vegas Raiders deal fell apart because a billionaire and an NFL owner turned up their nose at a mere $950 million subsidy, because they couldn’t be bothered to stoop down and pick it up.

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11 comments on “Vegas says it’ll cut public Raiders stadium cost to $500m, would actually be $950m, math is dead

  1. It’s a little weird that public subsidies are expected to help pay for this stadium.

    How many other entertainment venues have been built, paid for entirely with private funding?

    Did taxpayers pay for the arena they built specifically to house Celine Dion’s show?

    1. Zero. Not only this, but the NHL team is paying in a privately-financed arena so there goes that nonsense that arenas/stadia has to be publicly-financed.

      Vegas is rapidly becoming a corporate welfare state. There was actually a casino developer with the audacity to apply for TIF because his project didn’t raise enough EB-5 funds. Now you have a ginger who’s late father barely tolerated and a businessman notorious of filing bankruptcy to avoid paying contractors working in concert to extract $1.6 billion from Joe Taxpayer. All in the attempt of Adelson to severely cripple his main conventioneer competitor.

      Neil is right: how dumb can these businessmen be to turn down that kind of coin? I must say this: I don’t criticize anyone taking advantage of an inept and dumb-downed populace led by opportunistic crooks. Fortunately, some people are awake at the wheel and is fighting back vociferously.

  2. One of the disappointing items for Adelson has to be that he knows this isn’t the final time his deal will be ratcheted down. The SNTIC isn’t a decision making body. Their recommendation has to go to the Legislature, either in a special session in August (give away $1B tax dollars to billionaires before an election – Yay!) or next February with the regular session.

    At that point the Legislature will add more conditions similar to Tesla & Faraday deals. Some of this will likely get turned into transferable refundable tax credits (we have no income tax so refundable gambling tax credits you can sell to the casinos) but only if certain employment or other economic markers are hit. And that’s assuming the Legislature doesn’t balk at the $ amount even more.

    1. I think if the Raiders don’t get the money they don’t move to Vegas. Davis wants to stay on the West Coast but he can always find someone to shower him with subsidies, likely San Antonio, which has stadium to use why he waits for a new one.

        1. Jones would have little say in the matter. He’s only one vote of 32. If the league wishes for there to be a team in SA there will be one. Regardless of what Jerry Jones thinks.

  3. I’m for the stadium as a former and future resident. I am also a fan of the two contingency plans if the Raiders don’t get approval, 1st would be a new UNLV collegiate style stadium and second would be the LVCC expansion that had already been on the table.

    1. Well as a current resident and native to the city if you want to pay for it, that is your wont. Pay for it via TIF, not a blank check to a group of men who could pay for it themselves 20 times over. Amazing how a billionaire can get taxpayer-funded revenue-losing stadia and still be seen favorably, yet a person needing social services is perceived as an economic burden to society.

      1. To piggyback on your response, have you ever noticed when the rich advocate these welfare-for-the-rich proposals, they find a way to insulate themselves from any fiscal harm while leaving the taxpayers holding the bag? (Hint; The subprime mortgage crisis which led to the collapse of many investment banks and real estate lenders).

  4. This is NOT what vegas needs right now. How many cities will get screwed by these deals before we learn?? So happy for the way the hockey situation was handled. How can I, as a local, fight this? Will it come to a vote? Sorry for the ignorance just give me a petition to sign or SOMETHING!!

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