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December 14, 2017

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Room-tax money for Las Vegas Raiders stadium starts to flow before move finalized

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Mikayla Whitmore

A view of the Las Vegas Strip as seen from Rivea at Delano Las Vegas on December 8, 2015.

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority Meeting

Laborers Union Local 872 show their support for the new Las Vegas Stadium during a meeting at the Clark County Government Center, Thursday March 9, 2017. Launch slideshow »

The Oakland Raiders do not call Las Vegas home just yet, but Nevada’s public investment in the team’s proposed $1.9 billion stadium already is accumulating.

A room tax increase dedicated to funding the state’s $750 million contribution toward building a 65,000-seat stadium to house a National Football League began collection March 1. The Raiders, however, remain quite a good distance from being able to access any of that money.

Senate Bill 1, approved by a special session of the Nevada Legislature in October, dictated the starting point for the imposition of the tax. That means even though the NFL will not meet for another two weeks to deliberate on the team’s application to relocate to Las Vegas, public money to facilitate the move is being collected.

The bill applies an additional tax of 0.88 percent to rooms rented on the Strip and some adjacent areas to the west and south, and 0.5 percent to rooms within the remainder of the stadium district, an area within a 25-mile radius of the Clark County Government Center near downtown. For a room on the Strip, the average additional expense brought on by the tax is $1.50 per night.

As that money comes in, it will be managed by Clark County. The tax funds will back bonds issued to cover the $750 million committed to the stadium by state legislators. Any additional money collected would go to the authority for strictly designated usage on stadium-related costs.

That tax money does not begin to flow to the Raiders until the team handles its basic responsibilities toward acquiring a stadium site and turning over that land — likely at the proposed Russell Road site — over to the authority, which ultimately will own both the land and the stadium. Then, the Raiders must put their cash on the table before Nevada does, with additional protection of the state’s investment on the back end written into the legislation as well.

According to information from the authority’s website, “SB1 also requires the private developer to fund the initial $100 million of the project cost, excluding the value of the land that must also be contributed by the developer. After the initial $100 million payment by the private developer, the project will be funded on a pro-rata basis by the public and private contributors except that the last $50 million of project cost is to be paid by the public after the private developer has funded 100 percent of its share of the project costs.”

The team’s application to move to Southern Nevada likely will be taken up by NFL owners at the league’s annual meeting, scheduled to be held March 26-29 in Phoenix. To be approved, 24 of the league’s 32 owners must vote for the move.

If the Raiders’ move is approved in the near future, the stadium could be completed within the expected 30-month time frame that would allow the franchise to play there by 2020.

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