- If the state’s current sports betting initiative passes, this partnership will cover in-stadium betting.
- A referendum on Maryland sports betting could hit ballots as early as November this year.
- The announcement was a win for black state legislators concerned about industry exclusion.
LANDOVER, Md. – With Maryland legislators looking increasingly likely to legalize sports betting in the state, a representative of the Washington Redskins announced on Wednesday that the team would partner with a minority-owned operator of its proposed in-stadium sports betting operations.
Justin Ross, a lobbyist for the Redskins and a former state legislator, made this announcement while addressing Maryland House Ways and Means Committee. This address came as part of a larger hearing on a bill to authorize a referendum on legal sports gambling.
“The Washington Redskins are committed to offering meaningful minority equity investment opportunities as it relates to sports betting at FedEx Field,” said Ross.
In recent years, the team has been shopping for new locations in Maryland and Virginia to break ground when their current lease expires in 2027. A new stadium could be built from the ground up to include the necessary infrastructure for an in-stadium sportsbook.
First reported as a possibility in late January, future in-stadium sports betting at FedEx Field, or at the Redskins’ next stadium, is starting to look likely.
If the current bill passes, as is expected, the issue will be put to a statewide referendum in November.
Members of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus (LBC) have been urging lawmakers to add language requiring a certain level of commitment to providing opportunities to minority-owned sports gaming companies.
Members of the LBC applauded after Ross made his announcement, including LBC Chairman Darryl Barnes.
“I think it’s a great first step,” said Barnes. “It’s good to see that [Redskins owner] Dan Snyder wants to move in that direction.”
Ross delivered the team’s pledge on the same day as the team’s 10th annual Minority Business Enterprise Convention, which is sponsored by the Black Caucus.
Concerns About Minority Exclusion In Emerging Industries
The LBC’s stated concerns about the exclusion of minority-run businesses in a newly-legalized industry stem from the state’s handling of medical marijuana legalization in 2014.
Maryland legislators issued 15 licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, but none of these licenses went to minority-operated businesses. Black Caucus members expressed worries about being shut out of a newly-legalized sports gambling industry in the same fashion.
Del. Barnes even went so far as to explicitly compare the two industries during the hearing.
While legal Maryland sports betting is still a long way off, the Redskins’ pledge ensures that minority-owned businesses in the state will not be left on the outside looking in, as they were six years ago.
With a dual background in English and sports performance and business analytics, Carter aims to write stories that both engage and inform the reader. He prides himself on his ability to interweave empirical data and traditional narrative storytelling. When he isn’t keeping readers up to date on the latest sports betting legal news, he’s banging his head against a wall regretting his decision to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan.