Fanatics Sportsbook Ends Testing, Launches In Four U.S. States

August 17, 2023
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Fanatics Betting and Gaming has lifted the curtain on its sports-betting platform, officially launching the product in four states.

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Fanatics Betting and Gaming has lifted the curtain on its sports-betting platform, officially launching the product in four states.

The company had been beta testing with select users in Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio and Tennessee for up to six months prior to the official launch of its mobile betting platform on Wednesday (August 16).

“We are laser focused on solving painpoints facing customers by offering a faster, easier, and a more rewarding sports-betting experience,” said Scot McClintic, the company’s chief product officer, in a statement.

“The strategic patience to build a product for the long term has given us an opportunity to redefine a customer’s expectation of what a sportsbook should be.”

Patience has been a key theme at Fanatics since the company began assembling its team to launch an online sportsbook about two years ago.

“Our priority is to get it right, not get it fast,” Matt King, the company’s CEO, said during an appearance at SBC North America in May. “Ultimately, whether we’re live in a market today or 90 days from now isn’t going to matter.

“In that rush to move fast, you just build more tech debt, you build more debt in other parts of the organization that you then later have to fix,” King said. “And so, what we’ve focused on is from day one, I told the team that it’s a ten-year journey, and we’re going to move very methodical through that ten-year journey.”

Over the course of that journey, the landscape has changed somewhat.

Companies at the top of the market-share leaderboard, such as FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM, have shifted to varying degrees from a race for customer acquisition into the pursuit of showing profitability for shareholders.

On the other side, Wynn Resorts on Friday (August 11) became the latest major sportsbook operator to announce that it would work with gaming regulators to close its WynnBET online sports betting and online gambling platforms in eight of 12 states where the company operates.

WynnBET had struggled to get above low single digits in market share in the states where it operated. It follows sports-media company Fubo and MaximBet in scaling back or ending sports-betting ambitions.

Fanatics, as a private company, does not yet have to face that particular hurdle of showing profitability to Wall Street investors.

Fanatics itself went out and bought one of its potential competitors, acquiring the U.S. business of PointsBet in June for $225m.

Although it come into the market with a significant database of potential users from the Fanatics retail business, its status as a new major brand entering the market could be threatened by the new ESPN BET venture from Penn Entertainment.

That deal includes marketing through ESPN’s television and web properties, as well as a likely new burst of advertising from Penn as it attempts to play catchup and make its way into a more secure double-digit market share in the U.S.

One of the advantages Fanatics may have over its competition is the ability to leverage its FanCash rewards program, which allows players to earn points with every bet towards the purchase of sports merchandise from the company’s core retail offering.

“We believe FanCash is the currency of sport and it's a singular loyalty currency,” King said. “It means a lot throughout the system and that will be a huge differentiator for us, you know, relative to what other people can offer that only operate on one vertical.

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