By John Domen
Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder took a big step Wednesday toward getting a license that allows him to open a sportsbook at FedEx Field.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency voted 6-1 to approve a license for Snyder. Licenses were also approved by the same margin for Long Shots, a sports bar in Frederick, and Chesapeake Gaming, which runs an off-track betting parlor in Boonsboro.
“Several noteworthy issues involving the Washington Commanders, formally known as the Washington Football Team and the Washington Redskins, and the owner, Mr. Snyder, were identified,” said John Mooney, the managing director of Regulatory Oversight for the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
He said Snyder was interviewed June 8 about the problems surrounding his stewardship of the team.
“During the meeting, the issues involving Mr. Snyder and the Washington Commanders were discussed,” said Mooney. “Staff is unable to substantiate any of the allegations against Mr. Snyder.”
Mooney said that after a thorough background investigation, which included a look at Snyder’s financial background and business operations, “the applicant satisfies the standard for financial stability, integrity, and responsibility in connection with a sports wagering facility license application.”
Just before the commission voted, Snyder thanked the lottery officials who oversee the application process, as well as leaders from Prince George’s County, where FedEx Field is located.
“We’ve dramatically upgraded” the stadium, said Snyder. “We’re encouraging everybody to come to see all the changes we’ve done to the stadium this year. I think it’ll be quite impressive.”
He predicted a surge in attendance now that “we finally have ourselves a quarterback.”
The three approved license applications now go to Maryland’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, which has the final say on sports betting licenses.
The panel is scheduled to meet next Wednesday, and could take up the licenses then, though no agenda has been posted yet.
To date, the sports wagering review commission has not rejected any license applications approved by lottery agency. Assuming they don’t start now, the Commanders would likely open a sports betting lounge inside the stadium, similar to Capital One Arena and Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
Among NFL teams, the only other franchise with a similar setup is the Arizona Cardinals. The law in Maryland allows the Baltimore Ravens to also open a sports betting lounge at their stadium too, though they haven’t moved as fast to do so.
League rules allow for the lounges to be on stadium property or even next to the stadiums, but teams are not allowed to put betting kiosks or betting windows inside stadium concourses themselves.
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By John Domen