Fanatics has just a fraction of the online sports betting market share compared to industry leaders FanDuel and DraftKings.
But the company has ambitious plans to expand, possibly including online casinos in North Carolina.
Online sports betting in North Carolina launches next year, some time between Jan. 8 and June 14, 2024. Fanatics is expected to be among the operators hitting the ground running.
Even with uncertain timeline, Fanatics is betting on online casinos
Fanatics Betting and Gaming entered the sports betting market with access to a customer base of 95 million sports enthusiasts. Those enthusiasts shop for merchandise via the parent company’s retail business. With the acquisition of PointsBet’s U.S. holdings earlier this year, Fanatics is in a unique position to gain ground on industry top dogs, FanDuel and DraftKings, and roll out online casinos ahead of others as more states legalize
So far, only six states have legal online casinos: Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. PointsBet holds a license in all those states except Connecticut and Delaware.
Currently, the Fanatics Sportsbook is live in four states: Tennessee, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Maryland. The operator is still in the process of integrating PointsBet into its operations and transferring state licenses.
An online casino product is a priority for Fanatics according to Ari Borod, the Fanatics Betting & Gaming chief business officer. However, there is no firm timeline for rolling out an online casino product.
However, on the “Gamble On” podcast Borod commented that it “will definitely be part of our long-term strategy.” He mentioned the possibility of a launch in some states by the end of 2023. 2024 may be more realistic if the company doesn’t feel its online casino product is “perfect yet.”
“We want to make sure this is another thing we can add to the Fanatics ecosystem of product,” Borod said. “But longer term, as a gaming company, iCasino obviously is a very good business.”
Planning for the future of online casinos in North Carolina
Given recent events in the North Carolina legislature, it is highly unlikely that Fanatics or any other operator could offer online casinos before 2025 in the state.
A plan to expand the current gambling law to add more retail casinos and video lottery terminals in the state failed miserably last week. Nevertheless, there are influential voices in the legislature, most notably, Republican Rep. Jason Saine, who are enthusiastic about iGaming and its potential for bringing tax revenue to the state.
Saine, the senior chair of the North Carolina House Appropriations Committee, wrote an editorial outlining his argument for legalizing online casinos since they generate much more revenue than online and retail sports betting operations.
If Fanatics does succeed down the road in launching an online gaming product in North Carolina and other states, it will be even better positioned to snatch some market share from its more established competitors.
Image credit: Jeff Chiu / AP images