The Oakland Raiders' move to Las Vegas came a little closer to reality on Monday after Nevada approved a stadium bill that could house the NFL team.
Republican Governor Brian Sandoval signed a bill that would increase hotel taxes in order to raise the necessary revenue to construct the 65,000-seat stadium that also would be used by the UNLV Runnin' Rebels.
Last week, Nevada lawmakers approved a hike in hotel taxes to help raise $750 million in public funds to help build the stadium and $400 million to upgrade the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The public contribution toward the stadium project will be the largest ever for an NFL stadium. Casino owner Sheldon Adelson is contributing $650 million, and the NFL and Raiders are putting up $500 million.
Sandoval and Raiders owner Mark Davis wore hard hats in an appearance with construction workers during a ceremony at UNLV after the bill was signed. They were joined by a marching band and cheerleaders.
"Las Vegas is ready for this. Nevada is ready for this," Sandoval said. "The best brand on the planet is coming together with one of the best brands in professional sports."
The Nevada bill's approval does not guarantee the Raiders' move to Las Vegas. The franchise will need a three-fourths majority of NFL owners to sign off on relocation from Oakland. The owners are meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Houston.
An owners' vote on a possible move could come in January when the NFL owners meet again.
Davis told reporters that he's committed to Las Vegas over a stadium in southern California. He also said he's not using Vegas to pressure Oakland into building a new stadium.
"I made a commitment to the governor of Nevada," Davis said. "I've never used another city as leverage."
Sandoval touted the benefits that the Raiders would bring to the local economy. The $1.9 billion project is expected to create 18,000 jobs and boost tourism.
"Las Vegas is where the impossible becomes possible," Sandoval said. "Now, we have competition. Everyone aspires to be like us. Cities such as New York and Chicago and Seattle, they have not only stadiums, but major sports franchises, and are also investing more than a $1 billion a year in their respective convention centers. ... I refuse to let any of them get ahead of us."