You could add bets to the beers, pretzels and nachos at Washington Commanders games soon. The franchise recently received approval from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) to build a stadium sportsbook at FedEx Field.
This brings the Commanders a step closer to making its retail sportsbook a reality. They now need approval from the Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (MSWARC) before it’s a done deal.
In the meantime, Washington fans in Virginia can still make a Commanders bet right from home. The state has 14 different Virginia sportsbooks to choose from.
Stadium sportsbook plans move ahead
Team owner Dan Snyder sent the initial application to the MLGCC last August, but just received a thumbs up earlier this month. The committee voted in favor of the move by a count of 6-1.
Washington said it appreciated Maryland’s effort to shape regulations and review the FedEx Field application:
“We endorse the approach taken by leaders across Maryland to invite equitable and diverse participation in the legal sports wagering market. And, we are looking forward to revealing more about our plans to stakeholders and fans alike in the weeks ahead.”
A stadium sportsbook could draw more fans to FedEx Field. That would be a plus because the Commanders had the second-lowest attendance average in the NFL last season. The team averaged 52,751 fans per game, which is just a tick over 64% of FedEx Field.
Which sportsbook will the Commanders partner with?
Washington hasn’t made it clear which gaming operator will debut. Keep an eye on FanDuel though. In January 2021, FanDuel and the Commanders announced a market access partnership.
FanDuel partners with four other NFL teams as well:
- Buffalo Bills
- Denver Broncos
- Indianapolis Colts
- New York Jets
Commanders may be second NFL team with a stadium sportsbook
Arizona Cardinals are the only team with active plans to build a retail betting location. However, the Cardinals’ plans are a bit different than what Washington has in mind.
The Cardinals and BetMGM are building a retail betting location outside the stadium. It includes dining options and event space, which will allow the sportsbook to operate year-round. It’s set to open before the 2022 NFL season kicks off on Sept. 8.
While Washington won’t beat Arizona to the punch on becoming the first team with a retail sportsbook, the Commanders are positioned well to become the first franchise with an in-stadium betting venue.
In terms of the Washington sports landscape, the Commanders would become the third team in town with a retail sportsbook.
In May 2021, the Capitals partnered with Caesars Sportsbook to open a betting venue in Capital One Arena. The move made the Capitals the first pro sports team with a stadium sportsbook. The 20,000-square-foot space features an abundance of TVs. In addition to betting kiosks, customers can use counters to place wagers with a cashier.
In January 2022, the Nationals and BetMGM opened a sportsbook at Nationals Park. The Nationals were the first MLB team to open a sportsbook. The venue is 4,000-square-feet. Just like with Capital One Arena, the betting space includes 40 TVs. There are options to bet at a kiosk or with a cashier too.