Fanatics Lands Massachusetts in Bid for US Sports Betting Market

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Fanatics has picked up a third state in its push to become a major player in the US sports betting market. 

Massachusetts today found the nascent sportsbook preliminarily suitable for a mobile sports betting license. That license is tied to Plainridge Park Casino, also partnered with a retail Barstool-branded sportsbook and a second mobile app through Penn Interactive/Barstool. 

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission agreed unanimously to allow Fanatics to apply for the temporary mobile license ahead of the commonwealth’s mobile launch in early March after multiple hearings.

Terms of the license require Fanatics to approve an internal responsible gaming plan, and provide it to the MGC, before the Massachusetts sports betting launch. 

Fanatics is licensed in both Ohio and Maryland, although not yet live in either state. The sportsbook is partnered for both online and retail with the Columbus Blue Jackets and retail with the Cleveland Guardians. In Maryland, Fanatics is the licensed mobile sportsbook of the Washington Commanders. 

Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin announced at the 2022 CAA World Congress of Sports last fall his plan to have the sportsbook live in 15 to 20 states by the 2023 NFL season. 

California in Fanatics’ Sights

Rubin said then that Fanatics will be live in “every major market – except New York.” That state rejected Fanatics’ bid for a mobile sports betting license ahead of  its rollout in Jan. 2022. 

Fanatics’ founder Michael Rubin (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

The company has a good start with licensing in a major Midwest state and two East Coast markets. 

The run-up to be competitive with entrenched players such as DraftKings and FanDuel in a matter of months has a purpose: California

Fanatics is one of seven sportsbooks that donated to the 2022 California Prop 27 campaign for legal online sports bettingHad Prop 27 passed, companies and tribes would have been allowed to operate online sports betting in the state, but only companies already licensed in 10 states – or five states if they owned casinos – would have been approved in the state.

Prop 27’s defeat means sportsbooks must start from scratch if they hope to try again for the ballot in 2024.  

Fanatics Expects To Have 15-20 Licenses by 2023 NFL Season

Fanatics seems intent on meeting Prop 27’s 10-state threshold requirement, anyway. Massachusetts is the third state where Fanatics has secured sports betting licensing approval in the past few months.

Even if California doesn’t legalize, a foothold on the Atlantic Coast and Midwest is a great start for Rubin. And it puts him in position to meet his 2023 licensing goal for Fanatics.

Having up 20 licenses by kickoff of the 2023 NFL season would also put Fanatics in league with the biggest US brands.

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Writer and Contributor
Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.

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