Sheldon Adelson Pulls Out of Las Vegas Stadium Plan

Industries Dow Jones Newswires

(REUTERS)

Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson said he has pulled out of a plan to invest $650 million in a new Las Vegas stadium intended to house the National Football League's Oakland Raiders, dealing a setback to efforts to move the team in the coming years. 

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Mr. Adelson's investment, alongside money from the Raiders and $750 million from additional Las Vegas hotel room taxes approved by Nevada lawmakers last fall, was a key component of the $1.9 billion stadium-financing deal. 

The Oakland Raiders earlier this month filed paperwork with the N.F.L. stating its intention to move, but the team still needs the approval of 24 of the league's 32 owners before any move is possible. 

Mr. Adelson, a Republican donor who controls casino giant Las Vegas Sands Corp., said in a statement that his family would "no longer be involved in any facet of the stadium discussion." 

The decision to pull out comes after the Raiders last week presented a proposed use agreement for the stadium that upset some local officials by placing restrictions on how the stadium could be used for other events such as college football games for the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. The proposal said the Raiders needed to be consulted for all scheduling of UNLV games, and that field markings and decorations for the Raiders could not be removed for college football games. 

"I was deeply disappointed for the disregard the Raiders showed our community partners, particularly UNLV, through the proposed agreement," Mr. Adelson's statement said. "It's clear the Raiders have decided their path for moving to Las Vegas does not include the Adelson family." 

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Mr. Adelson's decision increases pressure on Raiders owner Mark Davis to come up with the money to pay for the project beyond the public outlay that Nevada officials have committed. In Oakland Mr. Davis had offered to contribute $500 million to a new stadium project. 

Steve Sisolak, chairman of the board of commissioners in Clark County, Nev., said Mr. Adelson's announcement is a "big blow" to the stadium project. "It's not necessarily insurmountable, but it's going to be difficult to overcome," he said. "$650 million is a big hole to fill." 

The Raiders declined to comment on the stadium beyond a statement saying the team remains "steadfast in honoring Mark Davis' commitment to [Nevada] Governor [Brian] Sandoval and the State of Nevada to pursue relocation to Las Vegas." 

Mr. Adelson's exit from the project makes life simpler for the NFL, which does not allow investors in the league to hold casino interests. Also, in general, the NFL prefers that teams control their stadiums without the intervention of a third party. 

--Matthew Futterman contributed to this article. 

Write to Chris Kirkham at chris.kirkham@wsj.com