State regulators put BetFanatics’ business strategy under the microscope in Day 2 of the operator’s suitability review for a tethered MA online sports betting license.
Fanatics said it has 2 million people from MA in its massive retail customer database. Regulators at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission expressed responsible gaming concerns over Fanatics potentially marketing to people under 21 who had previously purchased jerseys or hats.
“You’ve also got these historical entries into your database, so it’s not just prospectively how are you going to handle it,” Commissioner Eileen O’Brien said. “But what’s the mechanism for looking retrospectively for filtering all of that.”
MA sports betting hearing postponed
BetFanatics’ review for a Massachusetts sports betting license was supposed to be completed Thursday, but was pushed to next week because of a scheduling conflict.
At one point, chair Cathy Judd-Stein told Commissioner Nakisha Skinner, who needed to leave early, that she was out of order as the two engaged over the stoppage time listed on the schedule.
It will resume Tuesday and Wednesday from 8-10 a.m.
BetFanatics reaffirmed its goal to be ready on or around the time legal online sports betting launches in Massachusetts in early March, prior to the NCAA Tournament.
Regulators want responsible gaming specifics
Regulators also want a more complete responsible gaming plan from Fanatics, including how it plans to incorporate GameSense logic. In addition, regulators sought a more comprehensive RG plan regarding employee training.
Skinner called out Fanatics on its use of “risk-free first bet” in its promotional language as part of its application.
“We would look at applying whatever the highest (RG) standard in the industry is toward our promotions,” Fanatics Betting and Gaming CEO Matt King said.
On the diversity front, the MGC wants more concrete workforce and supplier goals. King said the company planned to address the commission’s RG and diversity issues in greater detail before next week’s meetings.
EEOC lawsuit ‘major concern’
The MGC also is looking into Fanatics’ past.
Commissioner Bradford Hill called a 2019 EEOC lawsuit a “major concern.” Fanatics had to pay $322,050 to settle a workplace race discrimination, harassment and retaliation suit.
As per a EEOC official release:
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Fanatics’ Jacksonville workplace was racially divided, and the company subjected employees to racial slurs and comments such as “We don’t need any outbreak monkeys here.”
Those will be talked about in executive session.
Fanatics in MA sports betting
Thursday began with Fanatics presenting its tech in executive session after saying it needed privacy because its app has not yet been released.
Fanatics is an anticipated player in the marketplace, and believes it can make a breakthrough due to its massive existing retail apparel consumer database.
The company confirmed Wednesday it would be powered by Amelco, as LSR reported in April. Fanatics also has sports wagering licenses in Maryland and Ohio. Additionally, it has five other licenses pending.