The first sports betting license for Fanatics is one step closer after a partial approval by the MD Lottery on Thursday. That, however, might not be the only news the retail giant makes in sports betting right now.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission approved FBG Enterprises for a sports betting facility operator license. That is the first approval of any kind for Fanatics, which is closer to launching after CEO Michael Rubin sold his stake in two professional teams this week.
The process for a MD sports betting license is not finished just yet. Fanatics’ application still needs to be approved by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) before taking any bets.
Rubin: Fanatics launching this year
Fanatics trademarked the BetFanatics brand in May, but how quickly it will launch its sportsbook is more up to regulators than the company itself. Still, Rubin seems confident it will be in 2022.
After tweeting that about his “soon-to-launch” sportsbook, Rubin told Fox Sports that BetFanatics will launch this year:
“By the end of the year … I’ll be taking bets on the Sixers.”
Report: Fanatics, Tipico in talks
The company could be lining up more market access through acquisition as well. Fanatics is negotiating to buy Tipico, CNBC reported Thursday afternoon.
The two sides are at an “impasse” on the price but talks continue, according to the story. Tipico is live in Colorado and New Jersey, and is also the exclusive sports betting partner for USA TODAY owner Gannett.
A map on the Tipico website also highlights Indiana, Iowa and Ohio with a note to “stay tuned.”
Fanatics buying an operator to jump-start its US sports betting market access is no surprise as it soon could need a plan to be licensed in at least 10 states. Fanatics supports the ballot proposal for mobile California sports betting with that 1o-state requirement for launch.
No Maryland sports betting partner announced
The MLGCC did not say where Fanatics would operate its sportsbook. There are already five retail sportsbooks up and running that can be taken out of the guessing game:
- Hollywood Casino & Barstool Sportsbook
- Horseshoe Casino & Caesars
- Live! Casino & FanDuel
- MGM National Harbor & BetMGM
- Ocean Downs Casino & TwinSpires
Fanatics did not respond to requests for comment from LSR.
Fanatics sports betting application in PA is pending
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board‘s licensing verification page shows five applications submitted for Fanatics on April 26 when searching for “FBG.”
Those applications for PA sports betting, online casino and three affiliate licenses are all pending.
The only other application filed by Fanatics was for a New York sports betting license. The brand partnered with Penn National‘s Barstool Sportsbook and its platform provider Kambi, but the bid did not score highly enough to be considered for a license.
Presentation: Fanatics in good financial health
While there were few specifics given about the company at Thursday’s meeting, the commission presentation did cover Fanatics’ financial standing from 2017 through 2021.
Fanatics reported net losses in 2017 through 2020 with a “small profit” realized in 2021. The net losses were attributed to rising costs and operating expenses. Its financial strength has improved, according to the presentation:
Despite its operating challenges, the Company’s financial strength has improved in recent years. This is due mainly to recent stock offerings that resulted in a substantial influx in cash and improvement in stockholder equity which has better positioned the Company to continue its expansion efforts. Additionally, the Company’s current long-term debt is very manageable and it has a substantial amount of borrowing capacity available to it should the need arise.
Fanatics Holdings has sufficient liquidity to meet its financial obligations and working capital requirements for the foreseeable future. Additionally, the Company’s financial ratios and margins are generally favorable and its auditors have not expressed any concern with the Company’s financial condition or operations.