Fanatics Sportsbook has been awarded a tethered online MA sports betting license from state regulators.
Fanatics will join the Massachusetts sports betting market following a suitability hearing that spanned four days, culminating this week.
The license will be awarded under the condition Fanatics has a board-approved responsible gaming plan prior to launch.
Fanatics MA sports betting launch
Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin’s company has said it intends to be ready to go live in Q1 2023, on or around the time that MA goes live with online sports betting in early March. The sportsbook reportedly will launch sooner than that in Maryland, with a launch date of Jan. 20.
“I thought this application was excellent,” MA Gaming Commission chair Cathy Judd-Stein said.
Fanatics secured its license via Plainridge Park Casino.
Fanatics dismisses any NBA issues
The hearing wrapped up Thursday morning, but not before Fanatics was asked to address owner Michael Rubin divesting his ownership stake in the Philadelphia 76ers and then reportedly being part of the James Harden contract negotiations.
Harden took less money, which enabled the Sixers to sign a pair of complimentary free agents.
Philadelphia was ultimately docked a pair of second-round draft picks following an NBA investigation for violating free-agency rules in having early conversations with PJ Tucker and Daniel House.
Connection between Rubin, Harden
ESPN analyst Bobby Marks connected the dots on potential impropriety during a podcast, as per Yahoo Sports:
“You have an owner, a former owner, in Michael Rubin — probably one of the wealthiest American former owners, billionaire, Fanatics — just has this big party. You’ve got all these NBA guys there. There’s a relationship with James Harden already. There’s a relationship with Harden when he was in a Brooklyn Nets uniform, there’s no denying that.
“And now you have (Harden) taking $15 million less, where I was texting with a couple teams and I said, ‘What’s the $15 million made up with, Fanatics stock?’ And they said, ‘Maybe.’”
Fanatics: Just ‘media speculation’
A lawyer for Fanatics told the MGC that it was “media speculation.”
“As of now, we just think it’s completely unsubstantiated,” the lawyer said.
Fanatics MA sports betting review
State regulators previously had placed Fanatics Sportsbook’s business strategy under the spotlight.
Fanatics has 2 million people from MA in its database. Regulators had expressed RG concerns over the possibility of Fanatics marketing to people under 21 who had purchased retail apparel.
Regulators also sought more concrete workforce and supplier goals. In addition, the MGC looked into past lawsuits involving Fanatics.
The commission came away satisfied following a multi-day executive session.