With Virginia lawmakers approving legislation to legalize sports betting, the state might strengthen its case to land a new Washington Redskins stadium.
On Sunday, Virginia lawmakers issued final approvals to bills legalizing casinos and sports betting. The sports betting law, which still must be signed by governor Ralph Northam, would effectively allow the Redskins to open a sportsbook–provided that the team’s headquarters are in the state–something that team owner Daniel Snyder has been lobbying for in both Virginia and Maryland. (The Richmond Times-Dispatch had reported before Sunday’s approvals that the bills in Virginia were close to legislative approval.)
Thus far, the team has not announced plans for a new stadium, but the progress made on the effort to potentially operate a future sportsbook is key. It is expected that the operation of a sportsbook would factor into plans for a new stadium that anchors surrounding development, while providing team ownership with a revenue source to help pay off what is expected to be costly endeavor. More from NBC Sports Washington:
According to [Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Michael] Phillips, Redskins owner Dan Snyder has selected a confidential plot of land in Virginia with access to D.C. that he’s considering purchasing for the future site of the Redskins’ stadium. Their current lease agreement at FedEx Field expires at the end of the 2026 season.
The news comes two days after the Washington Post’s Eric Cox reported that Maryland was willing to include a similar exemptive provision for the Redskins in its sports gambling bill if the team builds its stadium in Prince George’s County. Snyder and the Redskins have been lobbying for such provisions in both states.
The team has explored potential sites for a new stadium for years as the conditions at FedEx Field have slipped below the industry standard. Lawmakers from Maryland, Virginia and D.C. have been unwilling to adhere to those requests, but these gambling provisions offer financial opportunities that could offset development costs.
A new stadium would replace FedEx Field, the team’s current home in suburban Landover, MD. From the Redskins’ perspective, there are likely a few reasons to be interested in including a sportsbook at a future stadium. A law on the books in Washington does allow for professional sports facilities in the District to receive gaming licenses, and a sportsbook is already in the works at Capital One Arena. Additionally, as more and more states enact legal sports betting laws, it seems likely that the number of sportsbooks in professional sports facilities could grow by the time the team opens a new stadium.
Rendering courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group.
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