Fanatics Sportsbook, a proverbial dark horse in the rapidly expanding online sports betting arena, made its retail debut in Maryland this January. Company executives have since reiterated their intent to go live with an online version of the sportsbook in 2023.
The rookie gambling operation comes with instant brand recognition among sports fans and a considerable bankroll thanks to its affiliation with Fanatics, the apparel and merchandising giant.
Maryland could be first state where Fanatics Sportsbook goes live
Maryland has been on the short list of locations where a Fanatics Sportsbook app could launch first. State gaming regulators awarded the operator an online sports betting license in November.
Maryland, Ohio and Massachusetts — the three most recent U.S. jurisdictions to legalize sports betting — could all go live simultaneously, assuming all state regulatory requirements are met.
Matt King, Fanatics Betting and Gaming CEO, told Massachusetts gaming regulators last week that the online sportsbook targets early-March.
On the retail side, though, Fanatics Sportsbook made its national debut on Friday, Jan. 20 with a launch at FedEx Field.
Fanatics Sportsbook, Maryland already have existing relationship
Maryland is a relatively late arrival to the world of legal sports betting. More than two dozen other states had implemented some form of regulated sports gambling before Maryland sports betting came to pass.
Yet, the Old Line State is a logical starting point for the highly anticipated sportsbook operator. The company and the state have a unique dynamic.
Fanatics Sportsbook is licensed to offer sports betting in Maryland through a partnership with FedEx Field and the NFL’s Washington Commanders. Furthermore, the company has an arrangement with the University of Maryland, something that would be strictly prohibited in all but a handful of states.
Fanatics, the world’s largest officially licensed sports apparel company, also has a national distribution center in Aberdeen.
Fanatics Sportsbook coming to a state near you
New York City-based Fanatics has lofty aspirations for its sportsbook product.
Michael Rubin purchased Fanatics in 2011 and is now CEO. Last year, Ruben said the intention is for Fanatics Sportsbook to be in 15-20 states by fall 2023. He told a business publication last February that Fanatics Sportsbook could be the “No. 1 player in the world in (sports betting) in 10 years,” while acknowledging that was ambitious for a yet-to-exist product.
“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 also recently discussed acquiring the US sportsbook BetParx.