- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Washington Wizards, Capitals and Nationals all have plans to offer sports gambling to fans in their arenas — now the Redskins want a piece of the action. 

Redskins owner Dan Snyder met with Maryland lawmakers Tuesday to discuss allowing gambling at a new stadium in the state. The franchise has been in talks with elected officials across the region in recent years about moving into a new stadium once its lease at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, expires in 2027. 

The Redskins have had discussions with Maryland, Virginia and the District, but this week in Annapolis, Snyder shifted his attention back to Maryland — and pushed for the state to legalize sports gambling. 

“He asked to be included in the sports betting realm,” Maryland state Sen. Guy Guzzone, a Howard County Democrat, told reporters. 

Maryland lawmakers have discussed the issue in session as the state mulls whether to legalize sports gambling. Around the country, 14 states allow people to place bets on sports — and at least six others have passed bills waiting to be implemented. States now have the option of implementing sports gambling after the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on it in May 2018. 

With the shifting industry, sports teams have sensed the opportunity to earn additional income. 

The Washington Post first reported the news of Snyder meeting with Maryland officials. Over the course of one 20-minute session, Guzzone said Snyder laid out his vision for the team’s next stadium and how to sell it to the public. The 54-year-old billionaire also insisted the state would not be responsible for paying for it, Guzzone said.

“He specifically said that he was not interested in having the taxpayers pay for any stadium,” Guzzone said.

But the inclusion of allowing sports gambling at the venue was reportedly pushed. In one session, Snyder, the Post reported, made a “veiled threat” of taking the team to Virginia if he did not get his way. 

Snyder’s comment, though, fell on “deaf ears,” one lawmaker said.

In speaking with reporters, Guzzone said the exact location of the Redskins’ next stadium was not discussed. The struggling franchise had hit significant roadblocks in the District, Virginia and in Maryland while searching for a home for their next venue. 

The Redskins had hopes earlier of bringing the team back to the District on the federally-owned land of their old home, RFK Stadium. But late last month, federal lawmakers omitted language that would have freed the land to the District in a massive spending bill. The Redskins also lost a key ally on the City Council when embattled councilmember Jack Evans resigned earlier this month. 

In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan told the team in February he was withdrawing efforts in using land near MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill to build a new stadium. 

The Redskins also had negotiations with Virginia officials, with one site near Dulles International Airport once considered the front-runner. But those talks, too, appeared to have quieted when governor Ralph Northam took office in 2018. Northam told The Richmond Times-Dispatch in August that “our doors are open” to the Redskins, but there have not been any notable updates since. 

Former Redskins president Bruce Allen told WMAL in July that the team’s deadline for making a decision is 2022, but had hoped to make an announcement within the next year. 

Allen, meanwhile, was seen to be one of the lead negotiators in talks with officials, but he was fired in January after Washington went 3-13 in 2019. The Redskins have yet to hire his direct replacement. 

⦁ This story is based in part on wire service reports.



• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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