Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is trying to get ahead on an issue the NFL hasn’t quite confronted yet: sports gambling in stadiums.
Snyder is trying to get a new Redskins stadium built, and while that project continues to hit major snags (such as finding an available site), he’s getting a head start on making this hypothetical future stadium as modern as possible.
According to the Washington Post, Snyder met with Maryland state senator Guy J. Guzzone (the chairman of the budget and taxation committee), senate president Bill Ferguson and several others to advocate for sports gambling licenses to be granted to the stadium he hopes to build in Maryland. It’s not clear where he would build in Maryland, especially since the campaign to acquire land in Prince George’s County fell apart in December, but Snyder seems to be keeping all his options to find a stadium site.
There’s a problem, though. Maryland doesn’t currently allow that type of sports gambling, and any expansion would require a constitutional referendum. While that could be put on the ballot and voted on in November, it’s hard to ignore that Snyder is essentially asking for something that doesn’t exist (sports gambling licenses) to go inside a facility that doesn’t exist (the Redskins’ new stadium).
Snyder’s efforts are to put his hypothetical future stadium in a good position both financially and with fans, but it wouldn’t be a Snyder interaction without some veiled threats and quizzical ultimatums. At one of the meetings on Tuesday, the Post reported that Snyder said that the team could only remain in Maryland if he was able to offer sports betting at the stadium.
At a different meeting, Snyder reportedly made a “veiled threat” to move the team to Virginia.
Snyder “does see [sports betting] as part of his vision if he is to remain in Maryland,” the lawmaker said. “He is willing to build his own stadium, but he wants sports betting to be a part of that.”
The lawmaker said Snyder made a “veiled threat” to go to Virginia if he does not get a license.
“It wasn’t too high-pressured,” the lawmaker said of the discussion. “Most of the people in the room were Ravens fans, so it sort of fell on deaf ears.”
Another attendee summed up the Redskins owner’s message as: “If you don’t give it, I’m leaving. If you give it, maybe I’ll stay.”
If anyone couldn’t care less about Snyder threatening to move the bumbling, embarrassing Redskins to Virginia, it’s Baltimore Ravens fans.
FedExField, the Redskins’ current stadium, is located in Landover, Maryland. The team is leased to play there until 2027.
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