NFL cancels plans to hold its college player Draft in Las Vegas next month Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · March 16, 2020 at 1:00 pm The National Football League canceled plans to hold its annual college player draft in Las Vegas next month out of concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. In a statement Monday, the league said it halting the public plans for the three-day draft that would have included a host of special events on the Las Vegas Strip, including utilizing the Bellagio fountains and the new Caesars Forum Conference Center at the Linq. The NFL cited guidance from experts at the Center for Disease Control and public authorities in Nevada and with the City of Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority agreed with the decision, although the festivities surrounding the NFL Draft was expected to bring upward of 350,000 visitors to Southern Nevada. “The LVCVA understands and supports the NFL’s decision to cancel the Draft, reinforced by the Center for Disease Control’s latest recommendation to cancel all events with more than 50 people to curb the spread of coronavirus,” LVCVA spokeswoman Lori Nelson-Kraft said in a statement. “The top priority today and in the days and weeks ahead is to ensure our community and visitors stay safe. We will continue to follow the Health District and the CDC’s recommendations and guidance.” The NFL said it will modify its plans for the 2020 Draft, according to Commissioner Roger Goodell. the Draft was expected to be the start of the kick-off of activities leading up to the opening season of the Las Vegas Raiders. The franchise relocated from Oakland and will play in the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium, which is expected to open in August. The clubs’ selection of players will proceed as scheduled April 23-25. The NFL is exploring innovative options for how the process will be conducted and will provide that information as it becomes available. The selection process will be televised. “This decision reflects our foremost priority — the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” Goodell in a statement. “While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl.” The move comes as two of the Strip’s largest casino operators – Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International – announced late Sunday they were temporarily shutting down more than a dozen gaming and non-gaming properties in the nation’s casino capital due to the continuing spread of COVID-19 coronavirus. In a statement, MGM Resorts said the company “understands and supports the NFL’s decision. We look forward to welcoming the NFL and all its fans to Las Vegas later this year when the Raiders season kicks off.” MGM operates Bellagio. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.