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Politics

Hogan places Maryland’s first legal sports bet, but uses former name of Washington Football Team

Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday placed the first legal sports bet in Maryland, calling it a “win-win” because he wagered on two teams that play in the state — the Ravens and the Washington Football Team — to meet in the Super Bowl.

But his long shot-of-long shots $50 parlay wasn’t a winner for the governor, who called Washington the “Redskins” — a name the team dropped before the 2020 season following complaints by activists and corporate sponsors that it disparaged Native Americans.

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Hogan made the bet at MGM National Harbor, which became the first Maryland casino to open sports betting after being approved by state regulators. Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland both plan to launch their sportsbooks with ribbon-cutting ceremonies Friday.

Hogan, a Republican, is seen holding up his betting slip at the Prince George’s County casino in a clip shown on the Twitter feed of The Recount, a video journalism site. The governor is asked by casino host Malik Husser whom he bet on.

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“This is a win-win for Maryland. This is a big day here at MGM in Maryland. This is going to be a really long shot, but it’s a big win,” the governor replies. “This is the Washington Redskins to win the NFC. Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC. So an all-Maryland Super Bowl out in L.A.”

The governor’s reference to the former name “wasn’t intentional,” said spokesman Mike Ricci, adding that he used the team’s correct name during a media availability.

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“I haven’t talked to him about it, but my guess is seeing Joe Theismann had him thinking about the old glory days,” said Ricci, referring to the former, Super Bowl-winning Washington quarterback who also appeared Thursday at MGM.

Hogan’s bet is known as a futures parlay. It combines two scenarios into one unlikely outcome.

The Ravens were listed at plus-700 on BetMGM’s online site to win the American Football Conference, meaning a $100 bet would earn $700. At plus-5000, The Washington Football Team, which plays in Landover, is a much longer shot to win the National Football Conference and advance to the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles in February.

The governor said that combining the two bets means “the only loser is MGM because they’re going to have to pay me more than 20 grand when I hit this one.”

For years, the Washington club fought to win the public-relations battle over their name and to preserve their federal trademark registrations.

But the team said in 2020 that it would “develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.”

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Days before the team announced the change, Hogan told NBC’s “Today” that “the time is probably right” to do so. Hogan had supported the team name when he ran for governor in 2014.


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