Fanatics begins US market push with Maryland retail sportsbook opening
Sports merchandiser launches as reports suggest potential deal to acquire BetParx sportsbook close
Fanatics has ignited its US sports betting drive with a first retail sportsbook launch in Maryland.
The BetFanatics operator has partnered with the Washington Commanders to debut the sportsbook at the NFL team’s home at the FedExField, with the Commanders serving as the market access partner for the firm.
The 5,000 square feet sq ft sportsbook features eight betting windows, 21 self-service betting kiosks, two giant LED video walls, 38 TV monitors and a full-service restaurant, standing alongside the Washington Commanders team store.
Fanatics Betting and Gaming chief business officer Ari Borod expressed his excitement at seeing the first sportsbook launch for the aspiring operator.
“Our first retail location, with adjacency to the Commanders Team store, is a physical representation of what Fanatics will deliver to sports fans all over North America,” Borod explained.
“We are rolling out our platform first at retail, and we will have more exciting news to share in the coming months as we bring to market new mobile technology designed to improve the betting experience for sports fans,” he added.
Primarily a sports merchandiser, Fanatics’ ambitions to become a sports betting operator have grown over the last three years, beginning with the creation of the Fanatics Betting and Gaming division.
Since then, these ambitions have met with mixed fortunes, with Fanatics being denied a sportsbook license in New York, despite submitting a star-studded license bid in August 2021.
However, the operator pushed forward throughout 2022, netting the high-profile hire of FanDuel CEO Matt King in June, as well as a number of senior hires over the intervening months.
In October, Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin confirmed the operator would look to launch in as many as 15 states before the next NFL season, with the firm netting $700m in additional funding for this drive from US investors in December.
More recently, the operator has been embroiled in hearings to obtain a sportsbook license in Massachusetts, delivering an extensive presentation and ultimately successful application.
The Maryland launch comes amid reports that Fanatics is in talks with the owners of the BetParx sportsbook over a potential acquisition of the brand.
On Friday, CNBC reported that Fanatics had signed a letter of intent with Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, the owners of PARX Casino, which operates the BetParx sportsbook, however this report has not been confirmed by either party.
BetParx is available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan and Ohio.
Perennially linked with the acquisition of a major sportsbook operator, Fanatics has previously been linked with a deal to acquire Tipico, but once again these reports were not confirmed by either party.
Motivations cited include the acquisition of sportsbook technology, however, Fanatics had seemingly put this aside with the purchase of sportsbook code from technology supplier Amelco.
Fanatics is also expected to transition to a publicly listed business via an IPO once its sportsbook plans are further advanced.