The Washington Redskins franchise of the National Football League (NFL) is reportedly hoping to tempt legislators in either Maryland or Virginia into legalizing sportsbetting as part of an arrangement for a new stadium.
According to a Sunday report from The Washington Post newspaper, the side has played its home games at the 82,000-seat FedExField in the small Maryland community of Landover since 1997 but is now looking to either redevelop this ageing facility or move to a new site on the southern side of the Potomac River in Virginia.
The newspaper reported that the owner of the Redskins, Dan Snyder (pictured), has met with legislators in Maryland to privately propose building a new stadium on 215 acres of land he owns around the team’s current Prince George’s County home. The 55-year-old billionaire has purportedly revealed that he envisions this venue serving as the centerpiece for a year-round entertainment development additionally featuring the side’s practice facilities and corporate headquarters as well as a range of hotels and restaurants.
Although Maryland currently has no legalized sportsbetting industry, The Washington Post reported that Snyder is hoping to leverage the possibility of such a new stadium in exchange for being allowed to operate an on-site sportsbook. To further sweeten the deal, the NFL side has also purportedly agreed to allow a minority-owned partner to run the envisioned sports wagering enterprise so as to share any associated profits with businesses that have historically faced discrimination.
Justin Ross, a lobbyist for the Washington Redskins, reportedly told a committee of the Maryland House of Representatives that the team needs a sportsbetting license in order to be able to compete with other area sports teams including the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball, which plays its home games at Nationals Park. This 41,300-seat venue is located within the District of Columbia (DC) and as such may soon be able to take advantage of new legislation to open an on-site sportsbook.
The Washington Post reported that the capital city moreover plays host to Major League Soccer’s DC United and the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL) while Snyder believes that a new Washington Redskins stadium with an on-site sportsbook could help to reinvigorate a team that has only made the post-season six times since winning Super Bowl XXVI in 1991.
Ross reportedly told the Maryland legislators…
“We’re 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.”
It was further reported that Virginia, which currently hosts the Redskins’ training complex, also does not have a sportsbetting industry. However, it detailed that Snyder has been a major backer of two legislative measures that could guarantee his team a license to operate a sportsbook if it ever decided to relocate to ‘The Old Dominion State.’
The newspaper reported that both of these legislative proposals are due to be put to a vote before the full Virginia General Assembly later today and that their passage would authorize the Virginia Lottery to develop an online sportsbetting industry with as many as twelve licenses up for grabs. It explained that the bills would additionally earmark at least one of these permits for a future professional sports franchise so long as the enterprise met other basic gambling license criteria.
Virginia State Senator Jeremy McPike reportedly sponsored one of these legislative proposals and is said to have told The Washington Post that bringing sportsbetting to Virginia could furthermore serve to attract a major league sports organization to a state that is currently is home to none.
McPike reportedly told the newspaper…
“It leaves the door open for the future consideration of a new stadium.”