How Could Reported Commanders Move Affect MD, VA Sports Betting?

Written By Matthew Waters on May 24, 2022
VA sports betting

The Washington Commanders are already live in VA with sports betting and could be considering a stadium there too.

The Commanders paid $100 million for 200 acres in Virginia, according to a Monday report from ESPN. The land could house a 60,000-seat domed stadium, with restaurants, apartments and other surrounding amenities.

Should the Commanders move, though, the change would have a bigger impact on sports betting in Maryland than on Virginia sports betting.

Commanders saw preferred treatment for VA sports betting

The Commanders were involved in the surprise early launch of VA sports betting with FanDuel in January 2021 because of the team’s preferred status in the legislation:

In issuing permits to operate sports betting platforms prior to July 1, 2025, the Director shall give substantial and preferred consideration to any applicant that is a major league sports franchise headquartered in the Commonwealth that remitted personal state income tax withholdings based on taxable wages in the Commonwealth in excess of $200 million for the 2019 taxable year. … Any permit granted pursuant to this subdivision shall expire if the permit holder ceases to maintain its headquarters in the Commonwealth.

Virginia will give a sports betting license to any major league team that moves to the state. The Commanders earned a license based on the team’s headquarters and training facility located in the state.

But what about Maryland?

Right now, the Commanders have access to both Virginia and Maryland sports betting markets under the status quo. Moving its games out of state once the lease expires in 2026 could shut the Commanders out of Maryland, however.

The Commanders can partner with a mobile betting operator and even open a retail sportsbook at FedEx Field. Virginia does not allow any retail sportsbooks other than the five approved for casinos throughout the state.

That is contingent on Maryland regulators launching the market, of course. It now looks like mobile sportsbooks may not launch in Maryland until sometime next year.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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