Commanders Among Sportsbook Applicants Approved by Maryland Commission

Commanders Among Sportsbook Applicants Approved by Maryland Commission
By Bill Ordine
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

The Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Commission on Wednesday approved three applicants associated with retail sportsbooks, including an A-1 facility license for an entity called Maryland Stadium Sub, LLC, essentially FedEx Field, the home of the NFL Washington Commanders in Landover.

Interestingly, the commission’s meeting was punctuated by comments from Commanders owner Dan Snyder. He called from an airplane, offered his thanks, touted improvements at FedEx Field, and expressed optimism about the upcoming season, saying “we finally have ourselves a quarterback.” The Commanders’ new QB is Carson Wentz, who previously played for Indianapolis and Philadelphia.

Last week, it was reported that the entity called Maryland Stadium Sub, LLC, applied for a license for retail sports betting in Maryland. There are no Maryland online sportsbooks yet — they have been legalized but have not launched.

Controversy Surrounding Owner Dan Snyder

Snyder has been the subject of criticism with allegations of a toxic workplace environment, especially for women.

In the Lottery & Gaming Control Agency’s report on the Commanders and Snyder, it noted that its staff interviewed the team owner with the controversies in mind. The agency’s conclusion was that its “staff was unable to substantiate any of the allegations against Mr. Snyder. Furthermore, Mr. Snyder is not currently under investigation by any law enforcement agency or government agency or government entity for any criminal-related matters.”

The Maryland agency also noted Snyder and the Commanders’ continuing gaming license status in Virginia, where the team is partnered with FanDuel Sportsbook for mobile sports wagering there.

Two Others Gain Commission Approval

In other action, Lottery & Gaming gave approvals for two other facilities. It granted a B-2 license for Chesapeake Gaming LLC, a Boonsboro, Md., business that operates an off-track betting (OTB) facility along with other amenities. The LGCCC also approved a sports wagering facility operator’s license for Betfred, a UK-based sportsbook that has announced it is partnering with Long Shot’s, an OTB in Frederick, Md., which has already been awarded a facility license.

The approvals indicate applicants have met the qualifications for a license but the licenses are “awarded” by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, which next meets Aug. 17.

There was no mention of online Maryland sportsbook apps during the Lottery & Gaming Control Commission meeting. Though there are six retail sportsbooks currently taking bets in Maryland, mobile sports wagering has moved slowly in the state as the SWARC is mandated to adhere to the sports wagering legislation’s intent to strongly encourage minority- and women-owned participation in the sports wagering industry.

As a result, crafting SWARC regulations and license applications has proven complex. The SWARC tried to ease the process recently by eliminating certain race- and gender-specific language from its regulations. Still, a disparity study — being done by outside consultants along with the State Attorney General’s Office — has been an important guide in creating an application process, and that study has been in the works for months.

Lowest Maryland Sports Betting Handle Yet

The six retail facilities operating in Maryland — five at casinos and one recently activated at Bingo World in Brooklyn Park — reported about $15.5 million in handle for July, the lowest monthly amount since the state launched wagering on sports on Dec. 9, 2021.

All three approvals Wednesday from Lottery & Gaming were by 6-1 votes; results are passed on to the SWARC. Lottery & Gaming Commissioner Harold Hodges was the lone dissenting vote in each case, and while it was unclear exactly why Hodges was a “no” vote, he was cut off in public questioning about the finances of Betfred when it was noted some of those details were in confidential materials made available to the commissioners.

As for the Commanders, though the team’s stadium is in Prince George’s County, Maryland, their headquarters are in Ashburn, Va., thus the deal with FanDuel Sportsbook there.

When online wagering launches in Maryland, check with us for the top Maryland sports betting promo codes available.

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A longtime reporter and editor who began writing on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened, Bill covered the world Series of Poker and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for a decade.

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