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Now that the ground is broken, waiting on a 'Raider' payoff

A Raiders fan holds up a sign as the Raiders fifth round draft pick is announced in front of the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign Saturday, April 28, 2017. [Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau]

$620 million, at least.

That's the annual economic impact stadium supporters say is coming our way once that stadium is up and running.

It's the sales pitch that has tantalized local and state government, anticipating at least $35 million annually in additional tax revenue.

Its one of the measures they used to pass a boost in the room tax, to help finance the stadium, along with an expansion to the Las Vegas Convention Center.

At the Graceland Wedding Chapel on Las Vegas Boulevard, Elvis, aka owner Brendan Paul, says build that stadium--fast.

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"I mean anything that brings us that many people on a weekly basis and brings people to the city is good and everyone benefits. Hotels, restaurants, cab drivers, uber, chapels," Paul says.

There's no time to waste.

There's a tight three-year construction schedule to get the team on the field for the 2020 season.

"We've got a little less than a thousand days committed to getting it done in time," Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak told me.

Sisolak has been involved in the process from the beginning, sitting on the tourism committee that recommended the hike in the room tax to pay for the stadium.

The room tax boost adds $750 million, most of which, supporters claim, will be paid by tourists. Critics said it was money that should have gone to other more important services.

What also sold lawmakers during their special session in October 2016 is the jobs the stadium is expected to bring: 18,700 construction jobs and 6,000 permanent jobs, according to stadium supporters.

"You're going to have the economic impact of the wages. The jobs for all those folks coming in here that previously weren't working. They're going to recycle that money back into our economy," Sisolak says.

Unions are already ramping up, says Tommy White with Local 872, who also sits on the stadium oversight committee.

"We see some of our members that have transferred out of Local 872. When times are bad, they're transferring back. We also have our retired members coming out of retirement," says White.

Another important number: the stadium is expected to bring 450,000 new visitors to town.

Many will come to watch some of the expected several dozen new events the stadium may hold or to watch their team take on the Raiders.

Paul Ferguson, already in town visiting, says he'll come back to watch his Seahawks play Las Vegas.

"I think it would bring more visiting fans coming into the city, watching their team and watching the Raiders," Ferguson told me.

Stadiums have their critics, who say the economic payoff is oversold and the risk for localities left holding a big bill is real.

For Las Vegas, now that ground is broken--we'll see who's right.

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