Longtime online sports retailer Fanatics has been making moves into iGaming and sports bettingas it looks to expand its presence into new channels in the sports world. The company was recently given initial approval for a retail sports betting license in Maryland and has an application pending with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), meaning it could soon be adding its name to the list of Pennsylvania sports betting operators.

As of March, Fanatics was privately valued at $27 billion after a $1.5 billion funding round. The company has over 900 partnerships with sports organizations, teams, and other brands worldwide, including all major sports leagues in the US.

It also has the largest existing database of sports fans in the country, totaling 83 million users, which will bring invaluable brand recognition in one of the most competitive markets in the nation.

In preparation for its eventual launch in PA, we’ll be looking at the most up-to-date info on what Fanatics is doing before going live and what you can expect from the Fanatics Sportsbook when that time comes.

Editor’s note: We will continue to update this article with the latest Fanatics Sportsbook PA news until launch.

Fanatics Sportsbook will provide a unique user experience

Fanatics is not yet live in any state, but we can still provide some insight into what the user experience will be like. Beyond that, the ball is rolling for its debut in Maryland. This will give an even better look at what Pennsylvanians can expect down the road.

The company differentiates itself from the competition in that it is not primarily a betting-related company, nor is it a sports media company. Others such as Fubo Sportsbook and SI Sportsbook are already operational in two states.

Fanatics has proven it will reach into its deep pockets and spend wherever an opportunity arises. Earlier this year, it purchased trading card company Topps for $500 million, and jersey manufacturer Mitchell & Ness for another $250 million.

In April, Fanatics made waves once more, striking a deal with Amelco to acquire its platform source code for its iGaming services. It followed that up in May by filing to trademark the brand name BetFanatics.

Given its deep pockets and willingness to spend, players at Fanatics Sportsbook should expect a state-of-the-art betting interface that integrates other parts of the brand. This would include the ability to buy sports apparel, merchandise, collectibles, and even NFTs from the same account and wallet.

We also expect generous first-time deposit bonuses and other large promotions to be the norm as the company enters a market as attractive as the Keystone State.

Fanatics has advantages with existing connections

Fanatics was a decade old by the time it announced its intention to expand into sports betting last year. Since then, it has developed affiliations with several players that may grant even further access to the brightest of spotlights.

Some of those affiliations include having exclusive rights to licensing, manufacturing, and distributing all MLB and NFL jerseys via three-way deals with Nike and the two sports leagues. Furthermore, Fanatics has a deal with Ticketmaster that allows both parties to integrate their products onto each other’s sites.

In Pennsylvania alone, the Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia 76ersEaglesand Penn State University are all on Fanatics’ list of partners. It also has a deal with the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), of which the University of Pittsburgh is a member.

These teams provide further avenues to advertise and promote, both in-stadium and online. 

Lastly, Fanatics has a list of high-profile celebrities and corporate investors on which to lean. Shawn Carter, also known as Jay-Z, is an investor and the vice-chairman of the company. Other prominent investors include the NFL Players Association, BlackRock, Fidelity, Major League Baseball, and the National Hockey League.

Fanatics expansion through Tipico Sportsbook

On top of all this, Fanatics could have a paved road to market access in New Jersey and Colorado. According to CNBC, the company is looking to purchase the US sportsbook Tipico, which operates in the two aforementioned states.

Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin is appearing to get ready for the purchase, even though no deal has been struck yet. Rubin recently announced that he will be selling his 10% stake in Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment, which owns the 76ers and New Jersey Devils, due to “a soon-to-launch sports betting operation.”

With that operation presumably meaning the union of Fanatics and Tipico, Rubin would be able to see his company operate in New Jersey pending regulatory approval. However, his cutting business ties with the 76ers prevents any conflicts of interest in Pennsylvania, too.

When will Fanatics Sportsbook launch in PA?

Fanatics submitted an application to the PGCB in April as FBG Enterprises, whose status is currently pending.

Others waiting in the same boat include Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG), BallyBet, Fubo Sportsbook and PlayStar Casino. Fubo and PlayStar applied in 2021, while GNOG has been waiting since 2020. Bally’s submitted its application on June 1.

However, the PGCB does not work in chronological order and may approve applications in batches. It recently approved High 5 Games and Inspired Gaming for licensure on May 18, while withdrawing Gaming Partners International USA’s license on the same day.

Even though the PGCB has also approved PointsBet, Pala Interactive, ODDSworks, Inspired Gaming, Galaxy Gaming, and others in 2022, chances still remain unlikely Fanatics Sportsbook PA will go live this year.

That being said, everything on Fanatics’ side seems to line up for a 2023 launch. Unless the PGCB decides to halt all licenses, it has a good chance at debuting come next year.

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