After months of waiting by sports fans and gambling aficionados, online sports wagering is live and legal in Maryland. There’s one company absent from the growing list of live sportsbooks accepting wagers, however.
Fanatics Sportsbook has yet to come online in Maryland, but its debut is just around the corner.
Maryland could be first to debut Fanatics Sportsbook
Online sports betting in Maryland became a reality on Nov. 23. Seven sportsbooks — including major companies like DraftKings, Caesars and FanDuel — became available to Maryland bettors immediately at launch.
Fanatics is one of the three online sportsbooks awarded a license by the Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission that have yet to launch. Instead, the brand is taking its time to ensure the rollout of Fanatics Maryland goes smoothly.
The brand is not currently taking wagers anywhere in the nation at this time, so Maryland could very well be the first state where the Fanatics sportsbook debuts.
Fanatics expects to launch in Maryland in January in time for sports fans to bet on the NFL Playoffs and partake in plenty of Super Bowl betting. It hopes to launch in Ohio at the same time.
Sportsbook launch should be in time for NFL playoffs
Fanatics, the largest sports-only licensed retailer in the world, was purchased in 2011 by Michael Rubin. He’s now the CEO of the company.
With sports wagering exploding across the country, Fanatics was eager to expand its reach. Thus, its sports betting arm BetFanatics was created. The plan is to launch the online sportsbook in 15 to 20 states by the fall of 2023.
Rubin said the company intends to operate in every state that allows sports betting . . . except, perhaps, New York.
“I think in the betting business, we are going to start launching in multiple states in January. We will be in every major state other than New York, where you cannot make money, by next football season. And we do like to make money by the way. It is this crazy concept in business. When we have revenue, we try to have profits that follow it.”
Fanatics has key partnerships with Maryland teams
Fanatics already boasts two major Maryland partnerships that should jump-start its popularity in the state.
Fanatics forged a long-term partnership with the NFL’s Washington Commanders and plans to open a retail sportsbook at FedEx Field on Jan. 20. That means those attending a game at FedEx Field will soon be able to wager not only from an online Maryland sportsbook app of their choice, but also from the Fanatics sportsbook lounge.
Fanatics also partnered with the University of Maryland’s football team on a jersey program.
Is Fanatics arriving too late to the party?
Although patience is typically key, that might not be the case in the world of sports betting. While Maryland may be a new market, Fanatics Sportsbook is a new player in an industry that’s already established its top dogs.
Some industry professionals suggest Fanatics may have already missed the boat on online sports betting. FanDuel Sportsbook CEO Amy Howe said:
“It should be clear that new entrants that are entering now at this point may face a real challenge taking on scale players who have more than a four-year head start.”
Maryland plans to award a maximum of 60 online sportsbook licenses and 30 retail sportsbook licenses.
These seven online sportsbooks are currently accepting bets in Maryland:
For those interested in wagering in person, nine retail sportsbook locations also exist. Now, Marylanders will soon be able to add Fanatics Sportsbook to that growing list.