The process has begun for Fanatics Sportsbook to take over for PointsBet as soon as next month.
During a meeting of the New York State Gaming Commission on Thursday, executive director Robert Williams detailed the timeline from Fanatics submitting a bid to acquire the US operations of PointsBet Sportsbook in the spring to Fanatics submitting required documentation to the NYSGC as a means of acquiring PointsBet’s NY sports betting license.
According to Brian O’Dwyer, chairman of the NYSGC, work still remains by both Fanatics and the commission before the approval of a license transfer.
“When that is finished, the commission will consider the recommendations of the (NYSGC) staff and look at their report and then make a final determination at that point. I assume that will be done at our September meeting.”
Fanatics Sportsbook NY potentially licensed by September
Simply put, within just a few weeks, Fanatics Sportsbook NY could earn its long-coveted NY sports betting license – two years after the NYSGC excluded Fanatics from the industry when selecting nine online sportsbooks in NY.
In May, Fanatics entered into an agreement to purchase the US betting operations of PointsBet Sportsbook. After DraftKings briefly stepped in with a higher offer, PointsBet ultimately went with Fanatics for a $225 million price tag. The PointsBet board of directors signed off on the deal on June 26, and the company’s shareholders overwhelmingly approved the acquisition three days later.
Naturally, Fanatics jumped at the opportunity to snatch up PointsBet when the Australia-based company explored divesting its US betting business. Not only would Fanatics gain entry into states with legal sports betting, but it would also gain the customer database and tech from PointsBet Sportsbook NY.
According to Williams, Fanatics intend to continue using PointsBet’s existing technology in New York, as well as the sportsbook’s house rules, internal controls and back-end reporting tools.
“They will, however, utilize an outside entity to triage their customer service complaints,” Williams added, “which is a different approach than was taken by PointsBet.”
What’s left for Fanatics to get NY sports betting license?
After Williams covered all the background, timeline and inside-baseball details of the Fanatics-PointsBet deal, O’Dwyer commented that “the transaction of a corporate buyout does not require the transfer of licenses.”
But, he added, “the commissioners here today are convinced that since effective control of a license has transferred to a new entity, that increased scrutiny of this license transfer is necessary. To that end, the staff has and will require Fanatics to undergo a thorough examination of character and fitness to operate the license.”
In the Empire State, Williams emphasized, online sportsbooks in NY are licensed as casino vendor enterprises. As such, each applicant must undergo extensive review and vetting before receiving a license.
Apparently, Fanatics got ahead of the game. Williams noted that the NYSGC was informed of the PointsBet sale in April. And Fanatics began submitting all kinds of documentation to the commission in order to expedite the license transfer process. The NYSGC has already started reviewing this material, including completed applications already submitted by Fanatics.
That said, Williams mentioned, there is still a little evaluating left on the commission’s side.
When could Fanatics Sportsbook NY actually launch?
Receiving the license and actually going live may be a different conversation. More details about this will certainly (hopefully) emerge when the NYSGC meets again next month after granting Fanatics its NY sports betting license.
Currently, the tentative schedule from PointsBet indicates that it could complete its sale to Fanatics by early spring 2024.
PointsBet will also hold an extraordinary general meeting on Aug. 29. There, the company will likely approve the framework for returning capital to shareholders.
As for Fanatics and when we might see its flag fly in the NY sports betting skies, it all depends on New York regulators – and what they come back with during the NYSGC’s September meeting.