Washington Redskins Lobby for Betting Licenses in Two States
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is pushing legislators in Virginia and Maryland to grant him a betting license to allow wagering at a potential new stadium. Snyder is attempting to leverage a potential move of his NFL franchise to either state under the presumption that he’s granted the ability to offer sports betting.
Even though the Redskins are under contract to play at their current stadium, FedEx Field, until 2027, Snyder is hoping to get shovels in the ground to build a new facility once the sports betting facet is determined.
Although neither state currently has a legal sports betting bill, legislation is making its way through the bill making process in both states in order to become law. With Maryland being home to the Redskins, Virginia legislators are sensing an opportunity that could allow the state to get their first professional franchise.
In Virginia, two sports betting bills are up for vote this week that would grant Snyder his ultimate wish of offering wagering at his new stadium. If either measure makes its way through to a signature by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, the state will most likely be the first in the race as Maryland’s efforts to legalize sports betting has been sluggish.
Although the two bills in Virginia do not currently force the Redskins to build a stadium in the state to get a sports betting license, legislators have hinted that the measures will include that stipulation by the time it is final.
Why Does Snyder Want Sports Betting in His New Stadium?
The Redskins owner believes that sports betting is an element of the game experience that will keep fans engaged while adding millions to his bottom line. With the Redskins located in Virginia, neighboring Washington D.C. has become a threat as the district has legalized sports betting and allowed all four professional franchises to corner the market on wagering, including offering the feature on-site at arenas and stadiums.
In a House committee session last week, Redskins lobbyist Justin Ross said that the Redskins were “competing eight miles away with three arenas that are all being able to offer it. We would humbly ask to be included in the legislation.”
Helping Snyder in Maryland is that he has shown legislators from both states a plan to build a new stadium and team facilities on the current property that houses FedEx Field. The owner has bought roughly 215 acres around the stadium and his plan includes hotels, restaurants, and an entertainment venue for concerts and other events.
But, even though the current plan is designed to keep the team’s home in Maryland, state legislators have said that Snyder was not committing to building the property on the land and suggested that he remained open to taking the team to Virginia if Maryland didn’t legalize sports betting for professional franchises.
Snyder and team associates have cast a wide net, looking for a new location for the team’s proposed stadium, even inquiring about the site of the team’s old RFK Stadium located in Washington D.C. But the RFK site is owned by the federal government and the team has done little to entice officials to sell the property.
For officials in both states and the district, Snyder’s shopping for the best stadium deal will likely keep the legislative bodies cautious and likely force any legislation to be crafted in a way that allows sports betting to be offered regardless of the Redskins’ future plans.