Fanatics May Have To Be Patient For NY Sports Betting License

Written By David Danzis on June 2, 2023
fanatics sportsbook logo new york crosswalk

Fanatics Sportsbook has a goal of entering the legal New York sports betting market by the start of the 2023 NFL season. However, Fanatics’ pending buyout of PointsBet Sportsbook’s US operations must first clear regulatory hurdles in several jurisdictions, including the Empire State.

Gambling and sports betting regulations differ by state, and Fanatics will have to navigate each jurisdiction’s specific requirements in order to take over PointsBet’s 14 active online sportsbooks.

Robert Williams, executive director of the New York State Gaming Commission, was direct when discussing the reported $150 million deal between the two sportsbook operators. At the May 22 public meeting of the NYSGC, Williams had this to say:

“There will be no transfer of license. Rather Fanatics is seeking to become the new owner of the ongoing license-holding entity PointsBet New York LLC dba PointsBet. The transaction itself requires staff review, and Fanatics will begin the process of the backgrounding investigation of it, its related entities and persons who are designated as qualifiers.”

When will Fanatics Sportsbook NY go live?

An NYSGC spokesperson reiterated Williams’ comments, noting the transaction was an “acquisition” and not a transfer. As such, the spokesperson declined to offer an anticipated timeline for the launch of Fanatics Sportsbook NY, saying only that the commission would consider the deal once the review process was complete.

An internal PointsBet document says that the business end of the deal with Fanatics is expected to close by Aug. 31. Fanatics then plans to launch in three PointsBet states at a time. That process is expected to be completed by May 2024.

As the largest US sports betting market, NY is likely to be a critical state for Fanatics, which is arriving late to the game. Sports betting is legal in 37 states and Washington DC following the US Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to strike down a federal ban.

FanDuel and DraftKings have staked early leads, controlling anywhere between 70% and 85% of most legal markets, based on monthly reports. BetMGM and Caesars occupy a second tier of operators, with others, such as PointsBet, below them.

Better late than never for NY sports betting offering from Fanatics

For Fanatics Betting & Gaming — the recently formed gambling division of the merchandising and apparel giant — the New York licensing process may feel a bit like déjà vu. Fanatics unsuccessfully tried to get a NY online sports betting license in 2021.

The commission awarded 10-year licenses for two groups of sportsbook operators before the January 2022 launch of online sports gambling. One group included Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers), Caesars, Wynn, Resorts World and PointsBet. The other consisted of FanDuel, Bally’s, BetMGM and DraftKings.

Each online operator paid $25 million for a licensing fee. They must also make $2.5 million annual payments to a licensed land-based commercial casino to house servers and other required equipment for mobile wagering, according to state regulations.

Fanatics launched a retail sportsbook at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, in 2022. Ohio and Tennessee were testing grounds for Fanatics’ online app around the NFL Draft. Last week, the company began beta-testing its app in Massachusetts. Maryland authorized Fanatics Sportsbook on June 1.

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David Danzis

David Danzis is a writer for PlayNY. A New Jersey native and honors graduate of Rutgers University, he served as a newspaper reporter for the New Jersey Herald and Press of Atlantic City, earning statewide awards for his coverage of politics, government, education, sports and business. Today, he contributes to New York's growing legal gambling landscape, including online sports betting and potential legalization of NY online casinos. David lives in Mays Landing with his wife and two children. When not on the beach, a golf course, or snowboarding, David enjoys watching his beloved New York sports teams — Yankees, Jets, Rangers and Knicks.

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