Oakland A’s Las Vegas MLB Ballpark Funding Measure Benched by State Legislature

The Oakland A’s proposed move to Las Vegas suffered a setback late Monday night after the Nevada Legislature adjourned for its regular 2023 session without approving a $380 million funding measure designed to assist the MLB franchise’s relocation.

Oakland A's Las Vegas MLB ballpark
An artist’s rendering of the proposed MLB ballpark on the Las Vegas Strip. The Oakland A’s want to relocate to Las Vegas, but the team is in need of state and local financing assistance. (Image: Oakland Athletics)

The A’s are seeking to follow their former Oakland counterpart — the NFL Raiders — in skipping San Francisco’s Bay Area for Southern Nevada. But the MLB franchise is in need of funding assistance in order to build a new ballpark.

That assistance was to come through Nevada Senate Bill 509. Initiated on behalf of Gov. Joe Lombardo’s (R) office, the legislation would have capped the public financing for the A’s stadium at $380 million.

The funding bundle was to include $180 million in transferable tax credits from the state. Clark County, home to Las Vegas, would have provided a $25 million tax credit and $120 million in bonds for the project.

But Nevada lawmakers last night adjourned without acting on SB509. The Legislature will now need to meet in a special session to consider the stadium’s public financing plan.

To convene such a legislative meeting, two-thirds of the Legislature must sign a measure initiating a special session. But Lombardo can also force an extended legislative session through a proclamation, something the governor is already working on.

Tropicana Site Favored

The Oakland A’s initially agreed with Station Casinos and Red Rock Resorts to build its Las Vegas ballpark on the 49-acre site of the former Wild Wild West Casino, which was closed and demolished last fall. But the team later pivoted to the Tropicana grounds.

Bally’s, the Strip casino’s current owner, acquired the operations of the Tropicana from Penn Entertainment in September for $148 million. Penn’s real estate investment trust — Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. (GLPI) — continues to own the physical resort and land. Bally’s and GLPI have agreed in principle with the A’s to designate nine acres of the casino’s 35-acre site for a new ballpark.

If the ballpark achieves the necessary funding and backing from the state and county governments, Bally’s and GLPI would demolish the Tropicana to make way for the ballpark. The companies plan to then construct a new casino resort adjacent to the ballpark.

But all of this will only come to fruition with state assistance. However, providing another professional sports team with hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits and government assistance has spurred plenty of critics.

Clark County less than a decade ago provided the NFL Raiders organization with $750 million in public funding. The funds were generated by Clark County increasing its nightly hotel tax by 0.88%.

Funding Payback

Under SB509, the state and county’s financial incentives would be returned by initiating a special sports entertainment improvement district that would immediately surround the A’s new home. A special tax would be implemented in the district, with those funds being directed to pay back the bonds.

The stadium would be owned by the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, which additionally owns Allegiant Stadium where the Raiders play.

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