Friday, August 19, 2022
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NFL Washington Commanders Seek Stadium Sports Betting License in Maryland

The NFL Washington Commanders football team is seeking a sports betting license for its home stadium in Landover, Md.

FedExField, formerly Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, has been the home of the Washington NFL franchise since 1997. Owned by controversial billionaire Daniel Snyder, who for many years opposed stripping the team of its Redskins identity, FedExField wants to bring a new amenity to the venue through a retail sportsbook.

Maryland legalized sports betting in 2021 after voters passed a ballot referendum to amend the state constitution to allow such gambling.

Maryland’s sports betting law allows as many as 30 retail sports betting licenses to be issued. The in-person venues are allocated to the state’s six casinos, plus Pimlico and Laurel horse racetracks, Maryland State Fairgrounds, off-track betting lounges, licensed bingo parlors, and professional sports stadiums.

Officials from FedExField are set to virtually go before the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission next Wednesday to apply for their sports betting permit. Gaming regulators will consider the stadium’s application and determine whether to recommend FedExField for licensure.

Regulatory Process
Along with FedExField, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission will hear from two other retail sports betting applicants during its hearing next week. BetFred Sports and Chesapeake Gaming are also seeking sports wagering facility licenses.

BetFred Sports, a wholly owned US subsidiary of UK bookmaking giant Betfred Group, has partnered with Long Shot’s, an off-track betting and sports bar in Frederick. Chesapeake Gaming is the sports betting subsidiary of the Boonsboro OTB facility in Western Maryland.

If the entities are deemed suitable to conduct sports betting operations, the three applicants will go before the Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) for final approval. Maryland’s sports betting law tasked SWARC with determining applicant protocols and awarding facility and mobile sports wagering licenses.

In addition to FedExField, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, respectively home of the MLB Baltimore Orioles and NFL Baltimore Ravens, are expected to soon apply for their facility sports betting permits.

SWARC is still finalizing its mobile sports betting conditions. The agency recently amended its rulemaking processes to expedite the launch of online sportsbooks in time for the 2022-23 NFL regular season.

NFL Regulations
Though Maryland’s sports betting industry allows for stadium sportsbooks, the NFL has the final say on gambling inside its venues. The pro football league is allowing teams to incorporate sports betting lounges into their stadiums, but no actual gambling is allowed to be facilitated.

The NFL prohibits sports betting kiosks and physical betting windows from operating inside a franchise’s stadium. The NFL only allows stadiums to open full sportsbooks outside the stadium. That means retail sports betting windows and kiosks will only be available for fans before they enter the gates at FedExField and M&T Bank Stadium.

However, in states where online sportsbooks are permitted to operate, the league says fans can wager on their mobile devices inside the stadium. Some sports betting advertisements are also permissible in certain areas inside a stadium but prohibited in the lowest bowls near the field that might more easily be shown on television.

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