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Commanders take step to be first pro team with betting license in Md.

Washington Commanders’ Dan Snyder poses for photos during an event to unveil the NFL football team’s new identity, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Landover. Snyder and the Commanders moved a step closer to becoming the first professional sports team in Maryland to receive a sports betting license. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The Washington Commanders are a step closer to becoming the first professional sports team in Maryland to secure a sports betting license.

The Maryland Lottery and gaming Control Commission voted Wednesday to qualify three applicants for licenses including one for the NFL franchise. Daniel Snyder, owner of the team, is the sole applicant for the license for his corporation Maryland Stadium Sub LLC., which shares an address with the team’s stadium in Prince George’s County.

The stadium is one of more than a dozen guaranteed a sports betting license under state law.

Sixteen were guaranteed to go to 17 locations, including the state’s six casinos, the Laurel and Pimlico racetracks, and the Maryland State Fairgrounds, as well as some off-track betting sites, licensed bingo parlors and for the stadiums where the Orioles, Ravens and Commanders play.

Currently, there are nine licenses awarded, including to five of the six casinos — Rocky Gap so far has decided to not apply for a license.

Last month Bingo World in Anne Arundel County, another of the anointed group, was awarded its license. That facility in Brooklyn Park opened its doors this week.

State gaming officials recommended Snyder for the license following a background check.

“No criminal cases were noted; however, several noteworthy issues involving the Washington Commanders (formerly known as the “Washington Football Team” (“WFT”) and the “Washington Redskins”) and the owner, Mr. Snyder, were identified,” according to a report made public before the commission meeting.

Investigators for the commission interviewed Snyder in June about the “alleged toxic workplace culture within” the team’s organization, according to the report.

The report does not outline specific allegations which include claims of sexual harassment by former employees. Those allegations include a number of team employees and include Snyder which are the subject of a congressional probe.

As part of that investigation, one former employee accused Snyder of misconduct. She said the owner put his hand on her thigh during a work dinner more than a decade ago. She alleged he later tried to get her to accompany him in his limousine. Another employee said Snyder hosted an event for team executives in Colorado and hired prostitutes. The New York Times reported that Snyder called the allegations “outright lies.”

In another case, Snyder and the team reached a $1.6 million settlement with a former employee who accused Snyder of sexual harassment and assault.

In October, the NFL fined the team $10 million. Snyder was relieved of his day-to-day operations of the organization.

Investigators said they were not able to review a transcript of Snyder’s interview with the congressional committee.

“Staff is unable to substantiate any of the allegations against Mr. Snyder,” according to the report to the gaming commission. “Furthermore, Mr. Snyder is not currently under investigation by any law enforcement agency or government entity for criminal-related matters.”

The state gaming agency went on to recommend Snyder, the sole owner of the license, should be found qualified to obtain the license.

The application now moves to the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission, which typically ratifies the findings of the state gaming commission.

If approved by that commission when it meets later this month, the Maryland license would be one of two owned by Snyder.

Virginia awarded Snyder and FanDuel a sports betting license in April.

The commission also voted to qualify applicants for a license to take sports bets at Boonsboro OTB in western Maryland and another for a company that will partner with a Frederick County off track betting parlor.

The Boonsboro facility and the Commanders will still have to meet final regulatory approval from the state lottery agency before bets can be taken.

Lottery officials voted to approve an application from BetFred Sports, a bookmaker that has entered into an operating agreement with Long Shots. The bookmaker operates in both the United States and United Kingdom.

The Frederick off-track betting site is another of the pre-approved sites in state law. That site was awarded a license in December.

In a press release last month, officials with BetFred and Long Shots said a temporary betting parlor is scheduled to open in September pending regulatory approval. The temporary facility will include both in-person betting windows and self-serve betting kiosks.

The operator license for BetFred will not need additional approval from the state’s Sports Wagering and Application Review Commission.