Fanatics’ Effort to Assume PointsBet NY Sports Betting License May Not Be Simple

Fanatics may be acquiring PointsBet‘s sports betting interests in the United States. However, it may not be as simple to assume control of the New York operator license that comes with it.

Fanatics has expressed a desire to join the New York sports betting market by the start of the 2023-24 NFL season. However, New York State Gaming Commission Chairman Brian O’Dwyer stressed during a public meeting on Monday that Fanatics would need to apply for the sports betting license as any potential operator would.

Barriers to entry for Fanatics in New York

There is some history for Fanatics and the NYS Gaming Commission. In 2021, the company applied for a NY sports betting license but was rejected. Last October, Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin singled out New York when he discussed future plans for his company’s sportsbook.

“[We] plan to be in several states by 2023, other than New York where you can’t make money.”

Rubin was referring to the hefty 51% tax rate on adjusted gross revenue imposed on mobile sportsbooks in New York. Since the state went live with online sports betting in January of 2022, it’s shattered records for total handle. The all-time revenue number is closing in on $2 billion.

Since Fanatics hired Matt King from FanDuel in 2022, eyes have been on the company’s plans to enter sports betting. The Fanatics brand is known as a top licensed sports retailer, as well as a collectibles seller. Its massive existing customer database is seen as a lynchpin for the success of a Fanatics Sportsbook.

Fanatics has lofty sports betting goals

As Chief Executive Officer of Fanatics Betting and Gaming, King last month said his company is content to move slow, and that Fanatics is “not necessarily in the pursuit of market share. … Our priority is get it right, not get it fastest.”

When Fanatics announced its intent to purchase PointsBet NY, it assumed a strong position in the sports betting landscape. Fanatics Sportsbook is currently not available in any states. However, it’s expected to debut in Massachusetts or Maryland sooner rather than later. The company is also planning to roll out in Ohio and Tennessee this summer.

O’Dwyer may have just been doing his best to temper expectations with his statements about Fanatics and PointsBet. He suggested there is the possibility that the sale agreement could include an intention to transfer the sports operator’s license. Regardless, the state will need to do background checks on Fanatics and perform due diligence before a license can be awarded to Fanatics.

In 2021, Fanatics listed Jay-Z as vice-chairman on its application for a New York gaming license. The company has apparently distanced itself from the performer since, and has bolstered its leadership with the hire of King, as well as through efforts to acquire technical expertise through the pending PointsBet acquisition.

The sale of PointsBet to Fanatics, which would only include sportsbook operations in the U.S., and not anything in the parent company’s Australian market, is awaiting approval at a shareholders meeting next month.

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a writer for NY Sports Day. He has also written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.

Get connected with us on Social Media