Virginia Might Dangle Casino In Stadium Offer For D.C. Football Team

February 2, 2022
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As the NFL’s Washington Football Team prepares to unveil its new nickname, lawmakers in Virginia are preparing to spend up to $1bn to lure the team to their state and may throw a brand new casino into the bargain.

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As the NFL’s Washington Football Team prepares to unveil its new nickname, lawmakers in Virginia are preparing to spend up to $1bn to lure the team to their state and may throw a brand new casino into the bargain.

The casino license would be offered to Daniel Snyder, the Washington Football Team owner, to persuade him to pay for the new stadium, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Loudon County, home of Dulles International Airport, appears to be the leading site for the new stadium and the new casino would be located right next door, the Dispatch reported.

Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, who was elected in November, appears to be supporting a bipartisan effort in the Virginia legislature to form a nine-member commission to finance “construction of a football stadium and related facilities.”

Youngkin’s office did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday (February 1).

Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw, a Democrat, introduced a bill on January 21 to establish the Virginia Football Stadium Authority.

On the same day, Republican Barry Knight proposed an almost identical bill in the Virginia House of Delegates.

The Virginia Senate is controlled by Democrats with a 21-19 majority, while Republicans control the House of Delegates with a 52-48 majority.

Governor Youngkin would nominate the nine members of the football stadium authority who would be subject to confirmation by a joint committee of five members of the House of Delegates and three members of the Senate.

Four of the authority’s nine members would be appointed “from a list chosen by the football team that primarily will use the stadium,” or in other words, the Washington Football Team.

Knight, the sponsor of the Republican bill, answered succinctly on Tuesday when asked by VIXIO GamblingCompliance if he would support a casino next to the stadium and a gaming license for Snyder, the Washington Football Team owner.

“No and no,” Knight said in an email.

Snyder, who was born in Maryland and attended a private school in Henley-on-Thames near London when he was 12, is perhaps the most unpopular owner in the NFL.

Under Snyder’s 23 years of ownership, the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins has gone from a perennial playoff contender to a dysfunctional franchise with 14 losing seasons, including the last five in a row.

A spokesman for Snyder did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Snyder, 57, and the Washington Football Team are already dipping their toes in the gambling industry through the sports-betting market.

Last January, the NFL franchise became the first U.S. professional sports team to receive a sports-betting license through its partnership with FanDuel to offer online sports betting in Virginia.

The team was guaranteed preferential consideration for a license under Virginia’s 2020 law that legalized sports wagering by virtue of its corporate headquarters being in the state.

In Maryland, the Washington Football Team also qualifies for a license to host a sportsbook at its current home stadium through the provisions of a law enacted last year.

The team plays in FedEx Field, a stadium which opened in 1997 in Prince George’s County, Maryland, about five miles east of Washington, D.C.

But about 60 percent of the team’s fan base live in Virginia, and many have complained about making the long drive to Maryland, especially for games played on Monday night.

Virginia is the most populous state in the United States without a major professional sports league franchise.

Virginia legalized casinos in 2020 but only for five specific cities all located some distance from the populous Washington, D.C. suburbs of Northern Virginia.

Casinos have been approved by local voters in four of the five selected cities, with the lone holdout so far being the state capital of Richmond where a local ballot question was rejected last November.

Another site reportedly under consideration for the new Washington Football Team stadium is near the MGM National Harbor casino on the banks of the Potomac River in Maryland.

The media relations office of the MGM National Harbor casino did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

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