Will 2021 NFL Season Open Caesars, FanDuel Sportsbooks In Maryland?

Written By Derek Helling on May 13, 2021
sportsbooks in maryland

When it comes to sports betting apps in Maryland and physical sportsbooks in Maryland, there’s what we know, what we don’t know, and what we know we don’t know. The 2021 NFL schedule now sits squarely in that first category. Other things that tie into the coming NFL season and what that will look like in MD are more fitting for the latter categories, though.

Whether FedEx Field or M&T Bank Stadium will offer retail sports betting for the Baltimore Ravens’ and Washington Football Team’s home openers is one such subject of great intrigue. The potential is definitely there, spurred on by a few known quantities.

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The hype for sportsbooks in Maryland around the 2021 NFL schedule

Washington Football Team fans could potentially visit brick-and-mortar sportsbook at FedEx Field in Week 1, as the Los Angeles Chargers will visit to start out both teams’ 2021-22 campaigns on Sunday, Sept. 12. For the Baltimore faithful, the wait will be longer.

The Ravens begin their season in Las Vegas against the Raiders on Monday, Sept. 13. We know a lot more about the schedule for the next NFL season than we do about the status of sports betting at either venue.

What’s certain is that if/when a sportsbook opens at Fed Ex Field, FanDuel Sportsbook will be the responsible party. The Washington Football Team cemented its relationship with FanDuel in January. The WFT has a license to offer sports betting in Virginia and pegged FanDuel to handle those duties on its behalf.

We also know that Baltimore has an existing relationship with Caesars. The Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, which is a Caesars property, is the official casino partner of the Ravens. It’s also clear that MD law allows sports teams and stadium owners to apply for Class A sports betting licenses.

All the writing on the wall seems to point toward a Caesars Sportsbook at M&T Bank Stadium along with a FanDuel book at Fed Ex Field. However, there are still things we don’t know along with things we know we don’t know about this situation.

The mystique that remains around in-stadium sports betting in MD

For starters, a lot of this is still speculation. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan hasn’t yet signed any of this into law, for one thing. Then, it’s an assumption that the MD State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency would approve license applications for sports betting at either stadium.

Among the things we know we don’t know is whether the Ravens themselves will apply for a license. They don’t own M&T Bank Stadium like the Washington Football Team owns FedEx Field. The MD Stadium Authority owns M&T Bank Stadium.

Therefore, it’s a possibility that the authority, not the Ravens, could apply for and actually hold the license. While that likely puts sportsbooks in Maryland at the stadium either way, it could make a huge difference on the branding. The authority has no existing relationship with Caesars. That could mean any insider edge Caesars has gets diluted and it’s a much more open bidding process.

Perhaps the biggest thing we don’t know is whether a potential book at either stadium would be ready to open by Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season. There is still a lot of regulatory work to be done between now and then. The agency can’t really start on that until Hogan signs the bill.

The clearest answer to the question of whether the Ravens’ and WFT’s next home openers will also open sportsbooks at those stadiums is we just don’t know, you know?

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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