Fanatics Looks to Acquire Sportsbook Tipico With Eye on US Market

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Fanatics' Michael Rubin (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Fanatics, which just qualified for its first US sports betting license, is looking at buying an international sportsbook.

Negotiations are in play between Fanatics and Malta-based Tipico, CNBC reported. The international digital sports betting acquisition would be the first for Fanatics, which received initial approval for a Maryland retail sports betting license on June 23. 

Tipico is a top sportsbook in Germany, where it originated in 2004. Today the company has operations in Europe, South America, and the US, where it opened an office in New Jersey in 2019. 

Fanatics’ Rubin: ‘We Have Our Sights Set’ On Other Businesses

Just last week, Fanatics founder and chief executive Michael Rubin announced he is selling his part-ownership of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils to avoid conflicts with the company’s emerging sports betting business. 

It’s a somewhat risky move for the sports merch company. Fanatics will be competing in an increasingly-crowded US market dominated by heavyweights FanDuel and DraftKings. Those two brands are most familiar to at least 70 percent of regular bettors, according to a Jan. 20 Morning Consult article, “For U.S. Sports Bettors, It’s FanDuel and DraftKings – and Then Everyone Else.” 

But Rubin seems undeterred. Private company valuation of Fanatics has grown from $18 billion last summer to $27 billion – more than 50 percent, according to an April 7 interview with Rubin on CNBC’s Squawk Box.

Rubin, in fact, has said he believes Fanatics “can be the No. 1 player in the world” in the sports betting business.

“We started originally in the consumer products and merchandise business and reinvented that category. We’ve really transformed the company into a digital sports platform and we’ve added several new businesses since,” Rubin said in the interview.

“We have our sights on other digital sports businesses in the future. So I think we have a pretty enormous opportunity.” 

Tipico Talks Ongoing As Fanatics Gears Up For Maryland Market

Whether Fanatics’ digital sports betting business will include ownership of Tipico remains to be seen. A deal is not yet final. 

Fanatics and Tipico “are currently at an impasse on price, though talks are ongoing,” according to the CNBC report. 

Fanatics, meanwhile, is moving ahead with plans to launch a US sportsbook. Last Thursday, Fanatics Betting and Gaming was unanimously approved for a retail sports betting operator license by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming (MLG) Commission.

That license can be issued after Maryland regulators complete their investigation. 

Fanatics Betting and Gaming’s VP of Regulatory Affairs Alex Smith thanked the commission for working with Fanatics as it prepares to enter the market.

“We’re hopeful that this will be our first gaming license, and we’re excited to reach this milestone,” said Smith. 

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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