Washington Commanders Sportsbook Coming Soon as Team Qualifies for Maryland License

The Washington Commanders are close to bringing in-person sports betting to FedExField after the team’s stadium was approved for a Maryland retail sports betting license on Wednesday.

A retail sportsbook at the stadium could launch early in the 2022 NFL regular season. A license can be issued by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming (MLG) Agency after it was approved by state gaming regulators on the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) on Aug. 17. 

Sports betting operations could then begin at FedExField under its subsidiary, Maryland Stadium Sub, after MLG staff test operations and sign off on the launch.

While the stadium’s retail sportsbook partner has yet to be announced, Fanatics — which has been approved for a retail sports betting operator license in Maryland — has been reported as a potential partner of the Commanders.

FanDuel, meanwhile, partners with the Commanders in Virginia through the Virginia Lottery. It is also the retail partner of Live! Casino and Hotel in Hanover, MD.

FedExField is one of 17 retail sports betting locations designated in Maryland’s 2021 sports betting law. If the retail license is approved by SWARC and issued by MLG, FedExField would be the first stadium to be issued a retail sports betting license in the state. 

Some Needed Good News for Commanders Franchise

Last week’s qualification by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC), and the subsequent stamp of approval by SWARC, is good news for the franchise, which has faced at least two setbacks in recent months – including failed attempts to bring a new stadium to either Virginia or DC.

Team owner Dan Snyder continues to be under fire for the culture he has built around the franchise. 

Maryland state officials seemed ambivalent this summer about trying to keep the Commanders in the state. A June article in The Washington Times reported Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan didn’t expect Maryland to go all out to keep the franchise in the state. 

“Look, the Commanders currently own a large property and a stadium in Prince George’s County,” Hogan said, per The Washington Times. “And as far as I know, currently, after that action in Virginia, there’s no potential place for them to go but to stay in Maryland, and we assume that they will.”

The Commanders are expected to remain at FedExField through at least 2027. That’s when the team’s lease on the stadium is scheduled to expire. 

Eleven of 17 Maryland Designated Retail Sports Betting Facilities Are Now Qualified 

Additionally, the MLGCC qualified the Boonsboro Events Center OTB in Boonsboro, MD for a retail sports betting license. The restaurant at the facility formerly operated under the legal name Jockey Grill LLC. 

The potential licensee – which would be licensed under the name Chesapeake Gaming LLC –  is one of 17 designated sports betting locations under the state’s 2021 law.

The qualification of Chesapeake Gaming and FedExField (through Maryland Stadium Sub) means 11 of the 17 designated sports betting facilities in Maryland’s 2021 sports betting law have qualified for retail sports betting licenses. Six are already in operation: MGM National Harbor (Prince George’s County), LIve! Casino (Anne Arundel County); Horseshoe Casino (Baltimore); Hollywood Casino (Cecil County); Ocean Downs (Worcester County); and Bingo World (Anne Arundel County).

The launch date for Maryland online sports betting – also now legal under the 2021 sports betting law – is still undetermined.

Betfred Receives Maryland Gaming Regulatory Approval

Regulators on the MLGCC also approved a sportsbook operator license for Betfred Sports, a UK-based sportsbook valued at over $12.2 billion in 2019. The sportsbook is partnering with Frederick-based Long Shot’s OTB, awarded a retail sports betting license late last year. 

The opening date for the Betfred sportsbook at Long Shot’s has not yet been announced. 

Betfred Sports has operations in eight states (AZ, NV, IA, PA, CO, LA, and OH). Maryland would be its ninth sportsbook location inside the US. 

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Legislative Writer
Based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region, Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, Hanchett has been known to watch UK. basketball from time to time.

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