CEO Rubin: Fanatics Will Launch Sports Betting In January

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Fanatics sports betting will launch in January with a plan to be in all major states by the 2023 NFL season, CEO Michael Rubin said.

“In the betting business, we’re going to start launching in multiple states in January,” Rubin said Tuesday at the 2022 CAA World Congress of Sports. “We’ll be in every major state, other than New York where you can’t make money, by next football season.”

It is the first firm date Fanatics has announced for its sportsbook since Rubin suggested he would be taking bets on the Philadelphia 76ers by the end of the year.

What Rubin said about Fanatics betting plans

Rubin envisions an interconnected system where one account gives someone access to all Fanatics businesses. Users will also be cross-sold, he said.

“You buy merchandise? You’re incented to game. You gamble? You’re incented to get a collectible.”

Fanatics boasts a database of 94 million customers, Rubin said. That is clearly the biggest advantage for the brand, as customer acquisition has and continues to cost US sports betting operators big bucks.

Rubin said the Fanatics sportsbook will be live in 15 to 20 states by the time NFL betting rolls around for 2023.

Rubin: waiting ‘saved us money’

Many wondered what Fanatics has been waiting for when it comes to launching sports betting. It hired former FanDuel CEO Matt King for the same role last year, raised $1.5 billion in March, and trademarked the BetFanatics brand in May.

It also likely foresaw a path into at least 10 states last year. Fanatics is one of seven backers of Prop 27 in California, which would require operators be live in 10 states to launch.

Whether Fanatics was waiting to save money is not clear, but that is exactly what happened, Rubin said:

“So people that think licensing is a problem, to be clear, it’s 30 to 40% cheaper today than it was a year ago. So our patience saved us money.”

Fanatics happy to wait before spending

Rubin had no problem watching sportsbooks buy market share.

“I’d rather let everyone spend their brains out and then have to make money,” Rubin said. “Then I come in with a big checkbook and then I’m spending when nobody else can.”

That could also ring true if it comes to an acquisition, which Rubin said he would be open to if necessary. Fanatics was rumored to be in talks to buy Tipico over the summer.