SBD/15/Franchises

TEAM SAYS DON'T BET ON THE ROCKETS MOVING TO LAS VEGAS

     For the second time this year, Rockets officials have
"slapped down" rumors that the team was moving -- this time a
report in the January '96 issue of TEXAS MONTHLY that Rockets
Owner Les Alexander is secretly negotiating to move the team to
Las Vegas.  Rockets Dir of PR Kathy Frietsch calls the report
"absolutely ridiculous."  Texas Monthly spokesperson Lisa
Lawrence said they stand by the story, which documents teams
leaving cities and focuses on the Oilers' move to Nashville and
the problems of Astros Owner Drayton McLane.  The story cites two
sources who claim Alexander is not happy with his situation at
The Summit and is interested in Las Vegas.  The HOUSTON
CHRONICLE's Michael Murphy notes an August report they had
mentioning Las Vegas, but team officials at that time also said
denied any discussions or plans.  Murphy also notes a move to Las
Vegas would face serious challenges from the NBA because of its
stance on gambling.  The league required Canada to change laws
regarding sports wagering before clearing the way for expansion
teams in Toronto and Vancouver, and the league was also success
in forcing the state of Oregon to discontinue its sports lottery
(HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/15).  The Rockets' lease with the Summit
runs through 2003 (USA TODAY, 12/15).
     GO 'STROS:  Ed Fowler writes with the Astros' resigning of
Craig Biggio, Owner Drayton McLane is betting on a comeback of
baseball in Houston (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/15).
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