Washington Commanders planning for Maryland online sports betting launch
Perhaps lost in the flurry of activity during last week’s Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency meeting, the Washington Commanders were found to be qualified for a Maryland online sports betting license and may have a potential partnership lined up with a new online sports betting operator.
While a partnership has yet to be officially announced by the Washington Commanders, the Washington Business Journal reported in June that the NFL franchise had likely tabbed the Fanatics as its retail and online sports betting partner.
Online sports betting plans for the Commanders
At last Friday’s Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA) meeting, the agency found the Commanders to be qualified for an online sports betting license. Among the qualified applicants, the Commanders were the only organization to not publicly list an online sports betting operator partner.
However, according to the Washington Business Journal’s report (and in a summary published by the Sports Business Journal), work forms pulled in Prince George’s County over the summer mention a “Fanatics Sportsbook at FedEx Field” and the phrase appeared on “multiple contractor lists,” leading many to believe the Fanatics will be the official sports betting partner of the NFL franchise.
Nothing has been confirmed by the Washington Commanders and a team representative told Saturday Tradition that there is no update on the franchise’s sports betting plans.
Adding to the intrigue? The MLGCA found the Fanatics to be qualified for an online sports betting operator license at the same meeting, but the Fanatics application was also the only online sports betting operator application that did not include a listed partner.
More information on the potential partnership may be revealed at SWARC’s upcoming Nov. 21 meeting, where the commission will begin to approve online sports betting licenses for sports betting operators.
If licenses are awarded at the Nov. 21 meeting, this sets up a potential Maryland online sports betting launch for late November or early December.
Once licenses are awarded by SWARC, operators must then complete regulatory testing requirements and a successful controlled demonstration for Maryland Lottery and Gaming before they can receive the license and launch online sports betting in the state.
Retail sports betting on its way for the franchise
Aside from online sports betting, the Commanders are close to launching their retail sports betting operation “in the near future,” according to a Maryland Lottery and Gaming release.
The Commanders are currently completing facility construction for a retail sportsbook at FedEx Field or somewhere on the grounds of the stadium. The Commanders initial application for a Maryland sports betting facility license was approved by the MLGCA in August. It then received final approval from SWARC and made mention that a sportsbook was in the works for FedEx Field.
While the NFL come around to sports betting in the last several years, it has strict regulations for sportsbooks at stadiums. If a stadium hosts a sportsbook within its confines it cannot accept bets during home games. The Arizona Cardinals recently found a way around this restriction, as they constructed a standalone sportsbook on the property of the team’s stadium. but not within its structure.
It’s unknown if this is the course of action the Commanders will take.
Commanders owner Daniel Snyder spoke during the August hearing and said the license would be yet another improvement for FedEx Field.
FedEx Field has been “dramatically upgraded” leading up to this season, Snyder said during a brief comment during the application hearing, and he expects big attendance for the year. He did not directly address any potential plans for a retail sportsbook at the stadium during the August hearing.
The Washington Commanders were among the original 17 entities designated in the Maryland sports wagering law to conduct retail sports betting.