Fox Bet’s online sportsbook is now live in New Jersey.
The launch marks a watershed moment in the emerging market for legal U.S. sports betting, representing the first time an American sports media company has lent their brand to serve as the face of a real-money sportsbook.
Technically, this is more of a rebranding than a true launch, as Fox Bet is taking over the BetStars sports betting brand in New Jersey.
Existing BetStars / PokerStars account logins and passwords will work at the new Fox Bet site. The change does not impact existing accounts in any way besides the new branding.
Pennsylvania next in line for Fox Bet
Fox Bet NJ will be joined by a Pennsylvania sports betting site within the next week, pending final regulatory approvals.
Players in Pennsylvania will likely have a slightly different experience than players at Fox Bet NJ. Poker will not be available in Pennsylvania at launch, and the state’s comparatively steeper tax rate could impact the pricing and promotions players see in Pennsylvania versus what’s offered in New Jersey.
Small differences aside, Fox Bet PA will still utilize the same underlying sportsbook platform as Fox Bet NJ, meaning the two will have far more in common than not.
How did we get here?
In May of 2019, Fox Sports and the Stars Group (TSG) announced a wide-ranging partnership for the U.S. sports betting market.
Fox paid $236 million for a stake of just less than 5% in TSG.
The media giant also received an option to acquire up to 50% of TSG prior to the 10th anniversary of the deal that could stretch up to 25 years.
The ultimate output of the deal was the Fox Bet brand powered by the existing technology and operations of TSG. The group will deploy that brand in any state where TSG gains market access, a list of potential markets that recently got a whole lot longer thanks to a deal with Penn National Gaming.
Not all Stars brands making the switch
While you can still access poker and casino products from the Fox Bet platform, those products are not getting the same facelift as the sportsbook product.
That lack of harmony is likely a result of the immense residual power of the PokerStars brand name in the U.S. online poker market. Another possible explanation: Fox Sports could have far less interest in an association with an online casino brand than with a sports betting brand.
Which sports media brand will be next?
Fox Bet isn’t alone when it comes to media companies wading into the waters of operating a sportsbook brand. Candian sports media outfit theScore also has plans to run real-money sports betting sites in New Jersey and other states.
But major American sports media entities have so far shied away from acting as B2C sports betting brands, instead preferring to keep a bit of distance between themselves and the bet. That approach has yielded an ever-growing list of sports betting content plays and marketing partnerships from the likes of ESPN and Turner.