According to several state lawmakers, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder wants a license for the operation of an in-venue sportsbook if he builds a new stadium in Maryland.
The Redskins have been evaluating their options to build a new stadium that would replace FedEx Field in Landover, MD, where their lease expires in 2027. Maryland, Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia are part of the team’s stadium search, but Snyder apparently has a plan in mind for Maryland that would involve obtaining a license for the operation of a sportsbook at the stadium.
Snyder reportedly took part in meetings with Maryland lawmakers–including some senate leaders–on Tuesday, apparently stating his desire to have the ability to operate a sportsbook in the new stadium if it is built in the state. Maryland has not legalized sports betting to date, and any effort to do so will require a constitutional referendum. Still, state lawmakers have confirmed that Snyder is interested in having a sports betting component be part of any stadium project. More from The Washington Post:
“They are interested in the sports betting stuff,” [Sen. Guy J.] Guzzone said. “It’s a long lineup of people who are interested.”
In one meeting, people who attended said, Snyder conditioned keeping the team in Maryland on the ability to offer sports betting at a new stadium. Two people said they understood Snyder to be suggesting he would rebuild at the FedEx location.
The visit to Annapolis suggests Maryland is still in the running for the next Redskins stadium, a possibility that seemed remote after land-swap negotiations with Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration fell apart. The team has sought a new stadium in the District at the site of its old home, RFK Stadium, but the city has not been able to gain control of the property from the federal government.
Any gambling expansion in Maryland would require a constitutional referendum, which could be placed on the November ballot. Until now, the public and behind-the-scenes debate has centered on whether horse race tracks would join casinos as potential recipients of a limited number of gambling licenses.
What remains to be seen is not only if Maryland will eventually move forward with legalized sports betting, but whether there will be language allowing for the operation of sportsbooks within professional sports facilities. Some jurisdictions, including Washington, DC, have implemented similar laws, but there is no guarantee that Maryland will do the same.
At the very least, Snyder’s pitch to Maryland lawmakers shows an interest in having a sportsbook included in future stadium plans. Given how sports betting has expanded in recent years through individual states passing laws to legalize it, such an arrangement will likely not be uncommon by the time the Redskins open a new stadium, and it seems that Snyder wants that option as he maps out the franchise’s long-term plans.
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