Fanatics Betting and Gaming (FGB) has launched its full Fanatics Sportsbook online operation in four states: Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Tennessee.
The launch comes after an extensive six-month beta testing phase, but before the pending finalization of its $225 million purchase of the U.S. operations of Australian operator PointsBet.
FGB is the sports betting arm of Fanatics, the leading sports merchandise operator in America, with nearly 100 million customers.
It will be hoping that it can convert that following into sportsbook customers in a competitive market.
“After six months of beta testing, we are excited to officially launch the Fanatics Sportsbook product to the public,” said FBG’s Chief Product Officer, Scot McClintic, in a company press release.
“The strategic patience to build a product for the long term has given us an opportunity to redefine a customer’s expectation of what a sportsbook should be.”
Long-Awaited Full Debut
The Fanatics Sportsbook, now accessible for download on iOS and Android platforms, promises a user-centric experience after months in beta testing
It boasts a comprehensive range of modern sportsbook features, including live scores, lines, odds, and a diverse array of betting options on a strong selection of markets.
It also features a slew of social media-inspired features, including a discover page with personalized favorite betting options, and some limited interconnection with the Fanatics sports merchandise store.
That also comes with refined responsible gambling features, including comprehensive analysis tools for looking at play, spend, and time patterns.
“We are laser-focused on solving pain points facing customers by offering a faster, easier, and a more rewarding sports betting experience,” said McClintic.
Fanatics’ recent acquisition of the U.S. assets of Australian-based gaming operator PointsBet includes the proprietary Banach Technology.
This acquisition, valued at $225.0 million, is expected to be finalized by the end of the month.
With this integration, the Fanatics Sportsbook plans to harness PointsBet’s Banach tech to enhance its sports betting engine. This will involve leveraging quantitative-driven trading models from Banach, further refining its risk and trading platform.
Converting Retail Strength to Sports Betting
FBG’s parent Fanatics boasts a database of approximately 95 million sports fans.
This reach presents an advantage for Fanatics Sportsbook, allowing it to tap into an established audience and foster deeper connections with bettors. A key component of this strategy is the FanCash loyalty program, originally from Fanatics’ retail arm.
This program enables fans to convert FanCash into free bets on FBG’s sportsbook, or use it to purchase merchandise on Fanatics.com.
However, things have not been completely smooth sailing so far, across the six month beta period.
Fanatics originally offered $155 million for PointsBet, until leading sports betting operator DraftKings made a $195 million bid to hijack the deal. Fanatics then came back with its improved $225 million offer, which PointsBet shareholders have now approved.
This back-and-forth could have delayed the company’s expansion plans, as set out by FBG CEO Matt King back in May.
The Fanatics Sportsbook was originally targeted to launch in 12 legal sports betting states in 2023. It first beta-launched in Ohio and Tennessee early in the year.
Since May, it has soft-launched in Massachusetts and Maryland, which are now fully launched, for a total of four states.
That’s quite a ways off of 12 markets. With PointsBet’s transfer over to the Fanatics brand not expected to fully complete in its 14 licensed states until early to mid 2024 – that original target looks like it could be significantly delayed.
However, King seems happy to take things slow, as evidenced by the six-month beta phase for this most recent launch. If that means customers are happier with the product, a long-term view could pay off in this competitive market.
“Our first priority is to make sure consumers in the state have a good experience,” King said earlier in the year.