If Maryland legalizes sports betting, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder appears to want a piece of the action.
Snyder was in Annapolis on Tuesday for meetings with top state lawmakers about whether he could have a sports betting operation if he builds a new football stadium in the state.
“He laid out his vision for us, for what he saw in terms of the new stadium development for the professional football team,” said Del. Dereck Davis, a Prince George’s County Democrat.
The meeting included “some discussion of sports betting,” Davis said.
Sen. Guy Guzzone, a Howard County Democrat, said Snyder laid out a conceptual vision of how sports betting could fit in with a new stadium. Snyder appeared to be considering multiple locations for building a stadium and wasn’t seeking any taxpayer subsidies.
“He was saying: ‘Look, as part of what I want to do, I want to be part of this discussion, part of this engagement on sports betting.’ That was it. It was not a negotiation, just a conceptual discussion,” said Guzzone, who chairs the Senate’s Budget and Taxation Committee.
Snyder’s meetings and pursuit of sports betting were first reported by The Washington Post.
Redskins officials did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.
Snyder did not meet with Gov. Larry Hogan or his staff this week, but the two have discussed stadium options and sports betting previously, according to a spokesman.
House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, a Baltimore County Democrat, and Senate President Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat, both declined to comment.
Snyder and the Redskins have been looking for options to replace FedEx Field in Landover, which opened in 1997, for some time.
In an interview with the Associated Press last summer, team President Bruce Allen said the Redskins were looking for a new home for “the next generation” that would last for 40 years.
At the time, the Redskins were talking with officials in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia about possible locations for a new stadium once the team’s lease at FedEx Field ends in 2027.
In 2017, Hogan reached a tentative agreement to swap state parkland in Western Maryland with federal parkland in Prince George’s County as a possible site for a new Redskins stadium. The site would have been at Oxon Cove Park, which is near the Potomac River and the National Harbor complex.
That deal fell apart in early 2019.
Meanwhile, state lawmakers will again consider whether to legalize sports betting and gambling in the state. Past efforts to legalize sports betting have failed, but some see it as a way to raise money for improvements to public schools.
Multiple bills dealing with sports betting are in front of lawmakers during this General Assembly session, including one introduced Wednesday that would change the state’s constitution so that any expansion of gambling would no longer require a change to the constitution.
Guzzone said he expects state lawmakers to “make some movement” on legalizing sports betting, which could bring in up to $30 million a year for the state. He said too many other states have legalized sports betting and are drawing money that could be going to Maryland instead.
But Guzzone questioned whether in-person sports gambling at places like stadiums — as Snyder is proposing — would be desirable, as opposed to betting online or through smartphone apps.