Less than six months from launch day for the sports betting market in Ohio, operators are maneuvering for position, including Fanatics, which is seeking its first entry into the gaming industry.
Fanatics has yet to launch its sports betting app in a legal market in the United States. Ohio legalized sports betting in 2021 and will launch its market on Jan. 1, 2023.
The deadline for the first phase of license applications in Ohio is July 15, and according to the Ohio Casino Control Commission, Fanatics joins several leading sportsbooks in applying, including BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, betJACK, and Barstool.
In March 2022, Fanatics, Inc. applied for a trademark on “BETFANATICS,” which will apparently be the name the company will operate its sportsbook under. At that time, CEO and founder Michael Rubin appeared on the Bill Simmons podcast and predicted that his company would become the biggest sportsbook in America within 10 years. Also this year, Rubin hired former FanDuel CEO, Matt King, signaling a commitment to the sports betting industry.
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About Fanatics, Inc.
Fanatics is best known for licensed merchandise sales, offering items from the major professional sports leagues in the United States and internationally. As of 2021, according to its website, Fanatics is “the world’s leading provider of licensed sports merchandise.”
But Fanatics has branched out to include the design of sports apparel for Nike and other brands, as well as a global digital platform that features forays into sports gambling and gaming, NFTs, trading cards, event ticketing, and social media. Fanatics also has licensing partnerships with the England and Canadian national football teams, as well as the England national rugby union team.
The company is a rarity in the sports gaming industry: privately held and led by founder Rubin. CNBC reported last month that Fanatics is discussing a potential purchase of Tipico Sportsbook. Rubin is also selling his shares of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils to free up money for the potential Tipico Sportsbook purchase.
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What Can We Expect From Fanatics Sportsbook?
The Ohio Casino Control Commission will regulate the sports betting market in the state, including the application and license approval process. Ohio law allows for at least 25 online betting licenses in the state.
As an established company and well-known brand, Fanatics should have little problem clearing the hurdle to be licensed in Ohio, but no one has yet seen a sports betting app from the brand. It’s unknown if Fanatics will have a technology partner or gaming industry partner to provide the nuts and bolts of a mobile app.
It is clear that Fanatics possesses a nearly unmatched customer base from its global sales network. Rubin has predicted that the demographic data in a Fanatics user database would be extremely valuable for building a sports betting platform. Fanatics also has a vast network of content channels both via blogs and social media.
Frequently when a new brand enters the sports betting market it employs an aggressive promotional marketing strategy to obtain new customers. That could mean that Ohio residents will have a chance to get lucrative offers from a new Fanatics sportsbook.