The Nevada state Assembly on Friday approved legislation that will devote $750 million in public tax money to the construction of a new NFL stadium.
The subsidy is the largest ever for an American sports stadium.
The legislation will now hit the desk of Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R), who called a special session to get the vote done. He’s expected to sign the bill on Monday.
Sandoval has said the stadium ― which is meant to entice the NFL’s Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas ― will usher in a “new era for tourism” for the city.
There is no economic evidence, however, that NFL stadiums have such effects on local tourism, according to economists who have studied the issue. The claims Sandoval and others made about tourism “have no basis in reality,” Stanford economist Roger Noll told The Huffington Post this week.
Noll testified in the Nevada state Senate that the Las Vegas stadium deal was “the worst I’ve ever seen.”
The new stadium is backed by billionaire casino mogul and Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who has pledged $650 million for the project ― but only on the condition that the state approve the subsidy. Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. would operate the stadium.
Progressive and libertarian grassroots groups pushed back against the stadium, arguing that Nevada could soon face a $400 million budget shortfall and that education and mental health programs’ needs should be addressed instead.
Raiders owner Mark Davis will also contribute $500 million toward the new stadium, which has a total projected price tag of $1.9 billion.
The NFL has not yet approved the Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas. NFL owners are set to discuss the issue at upcoming league-wide meetings.