Maryland lawmakers met with Redskins owner on sports betting

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FILE – In this Nov. 3, 2019 file photo, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is shown before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y. Snyder has met with Maryland lawmakers to discuss allowing sports betting at a new stadium in the state. Sen. Guy Guzzone told reporters Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, that Snyder asked to be included in the sports betting realm. Snyder met with state lawmakers Tuesday, Jan. 21 in Annapolis. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File)

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder met with Maryland lawmakers to discuss allowing sports betting at a new stadium in the state, a lawmaker who participated in a meeting with the team’s owner said Wednesday.

Sen. Guy Guzzone, who chairs the Maryland Senate’s budget committee, told reporters that Snyder asked to be included in discussions, as state lawmakers consider legislation to legalize sports betting. Snyder met with lawmakers in the Annapolis on Tuesday, Guzzone said.

“He asked to be included in the sports betting realm,” Guzzone, a Howard County Democrat, said.

The Redskins currently play in Landover, Maryland, in the suburbs of the nation’s capital. Talks have been ongoing with Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia on a new stadium to replace FedEx Field when its lease expires in 2027.

During a meeting that lasted about 20 minutes, Guzzone said Snyder shared his vision for a potential stadium and how to appeal to the general public to create an exciting venue. Guzzone described the meeting as “a conceptual discussion.” Guzzone also said Snyder discussed building a stadium that he would pay for.

“He specifically said that he was not interested in having the taxpayers pay for any stadium,” Guzzone said.

The meetings with Senate and House members of the Maryland General Assembly were first reported by The Washington Post.

Guzzone said Snyder did not go into a lot of detail about where exactly he would like to build a new stadium in the state.

“He clearly mentioned that he had options that he was looking at, but that was it,” Guzzone said.

A spokesman for the Redskins did not immediately return a call or an email about the meetings.

State lawmakers are considering legislation this session to allow sports betting. Last year, the measure bogged down over where to allow it, whether at the state’s casinos, horse racing tracks or both.

The issue has come up again, as more states allow sports betting and Maryland lawmakers weigh an update to education funding formulas expected to cost billions of dollars over the next decade.

“I think we definitely will make some movement on it,” Guzzone said, when asked about sports betting legislation this session. “I can’t imagine that we wouldn’t. We don’t want to get behind the rest of the country, which in some ways maybe we are a little bit.”

State analysts have estimated sports betting could generate roughly $35 million annually in tax revenue.

Under current law, voters would have to approve of additional gambling in a statewide vote in November. However, a measure was introduced Wednesday that would take voter approval out of the process of future gambling expansion.

“We have a mechanism to have that discussion,” Guzzone said, referring to the bill. “And, we’re going to have that discussion.”

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