Fanatics CEO Expects 2023 Online Sports Betting Launch
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Fanatics. Pictured: A Fanatics logo.
Fanatics finally has a timetable for its impending online sports betting operation, CEO Michael Rubin said Tuesday.
The sports manufacturing behemoth officially began its foray into the gambling space last year after poaching FanDuel CEO Matt King and Action Network’s Chief Operating Officer Ari Borod. The company also filed a trademark for the term “BetFanatics.”
Now, Rubin expects the company’s sportsbook to launch in 15-20 states by the 2023 NFL season.
That won’t include New York because “you can’t make money,” Rubin said. New York has the highest operating tax rate among states with online sports betting at 51% of profits.
The CEO said the sportsbook expects to be live in every other major state. Currently, mobile and online sports betting is legal in 20 states, with two more — Ohio and Massachusetts — set to launch in 2023.
Legalization efforts in California, Texas and Florida are the next priorities for operators across the country. Voters in California have the opportunity to legalize online sports betting through Proposition 27, but the polls don’t look promising.
Fanatics had teamed up with betting software provider Kambi and Barstool-owned Penn Entertainment to make a bid for a license in New York late last year. They were eventually passed up.
In March, Fanatics — the largest sports-only licensed retailer in the world — raised $1.5 billion at a $27 billion valuation.
That came about a year after the company acquired Topps.
Fanatics has also ventured into the NFT and iGaming spaces, alongside its traditional e-commerce enterprise.
Rubin, who founded Fanatics in 2011, sold his stakes in the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils because it conflicted with the company’s foray into sports gambling.
Analysts across the industry have speculated as to whether Fanatics would need to acquire an existing operator because they’re so late to the party. Some have speculated about an acquisition of PointsBet — which operates in 11 states — but those rumors don’t currently have much weight.
The company appears to be fully prepared to build its own independent operation and has more than 100 employees at the helm.