Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones Support Oakland Raiders Proposed Move to Las Vegas

In recent days, two of the most powerful NFL owners have given their public support to the Oakland Raiders’ plan to move their franchise to Las Vegas. On Friday, New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft voiced his support for Mark Davis and the Raiders organization.

Last week, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he would not be opposed to the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas. Jones’s support is expected. Jones was an admirer of Mark Davis’s late father, Al Davis. The Cowboys and Raiders practiced together several days each training camp, and often played one another in preseason exhibitions (when opponents are chosen by the teams).

Cowboys and Raiders Ties

Jerry Jones and Mark Davis represent two maverick traditions in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders are among the teams with the most nationwide support, but they are also seen as existing outside the mainstream of the National Football League.

Robert Kraft is an establishment character. Before the Tom Brady/Deflategate case drove a wedge between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Patriots’ owner, Robert Kraft was seen as the vice-commissioner of the league. Whether it is true or not, it is commonely believed Robert Kraft saved Goodell’s job when fans wanted him fired over his botching of the Ray Rice domestic abuse investigation.

Kraft: “Davis Tried So Hard in Oakland”

Kraft’s comments went further even than the support voiced by Jerry Jones. When asked about the possibility of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, Robert Kraft said, “I think it would be good for the NFL. I know Mark Davis has tried so hard in Oakland. If they won’t do it…I want to support him.”

The Patriots owner was referring to the city of Oakland’s unwillingness to build a new stadium for the Oakland Raiders. The lease on the old stadium ended this offseason. Though the Raiders signed a new lease for 1 year with Stadium which includes two more option years, it is clear the deal is a temporary arrangement.

Failure to Move to Los Angeles

The impasse with Oakland caused Mark Davis to bid for a move to Los Angeles. That bid came up short, because the San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams gained more support from the NFL owners. The Rams and Chargers are going to share a billion-dollar stadium being built by the city of Los Angeles.

Mark Davis’s loss in the Los Angeles vote probably strengthens his hand in any Las Vegas vote. NFL owners agree that modern franchises need a modern football stadium, because its skyboxes and other amenities drive up revenues and turn the head of free agents. If Oakland cannot pay the bill, then NFL owners understand Davis must find another city.

The Move to Las Vegas

It is Davis’s choice for relocation which is different. For decades, American sports franchises have avoided Las Vegas. They fear proximity to sportsbooks and high rollers might undermine the integrity of the sport. Even those who dismiss that notion want to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Robert Kraft said the game has changed. In an USA Today interview, he said, “I came into the league in ’94. Back then, any exploration of that market was dismissed out of hand.

How Sports Betting Has Changed in 22 Years

The Pats’ owner said that is no longer the case. Kraft added, “I’m looking where we are today and thinking of the last 10 to 15 years, and the emergence of new media, with Google and Facebook and the like. We’re just living in a different world, technology-wise. The risks in Vegas are no longer exclusive to Vegas.”

He was discussing the proliferation of gambling, both across the American landscape and on the Internet. Gambling is a global phenomenon and gamblers can make wagers anywhere on their smartphones: waiting for a table in a restaurant, sitting in their dentist’s office, and waiting for the laundry to dry at home. Even if it is illegal to gamble on sports on a smartphone, billions of dollars are gambled by Americans each year.

Las Vegas Stadium

The move to Las Vegas appears to be picking up steam. Sheldon Adelson and his partner, Majestic Realty, are heading a movement to build a billion dollar stadium in the city, regardless of an NFL move. The two pledged $150 million to help fund construction.

On April 28, Mark Davis pledged another $500 million to make the Las Vegas stadium a reality. That leaves only $700 million for the city of Las Vegas to fund, likely with a hotel tax which would not fall on the local taxpayers. With 41 million tourists last year and more expected in 2017, such a tax over several years would be minimal.

In August, the Nevada State Legislature is going to take up the issue of a tax increase, to raise those funds. The NFL ownership will have to vote on relocation and 23 of the Davis’s 31 fellow owners need to approve the move. Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft are two, but their support is weightier than their simple votes. With two of the most high-profile franchises and two of the longest tenures in ownership, they are influential.

The Las Vegas Raiders appear much closer to becoming a reality.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on,, and

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