Fanatics Sportsbook on Monday began opening its proprietary wagering platform to existing company customers. The “launch” differs from that of other digital sportsbooks in that only existing Fanatics customers will get access, and those customers will get access at different times and via different channels over the course of a few weeks.
The company has been beta-testing its platform for about a month in the state, and this week’s launch is a precursor to the Fanatics Sportsbook opening to the general public, likely later this year.
According to a company spokesman, any customer in Ohio who is registered in Fanatics’ database, which according to a recent Wall Street Journal story had 95 million names in it, should receive a unique code from the company sometime this month allowing access to the platform. The access could come via email, special offer on the Fanatics website, or other means.
Fanatics Sportsbook, which started its beta testing in Tennessee in March, says the next step is this limited launch in both Ohio and Tennessee. The company is also licensed in Maryland and Massachusetts, and the expectation is that it will go live to Fanatics’ customers in those states in the next month or two.
To date, Fanatics Sportsbook has opened one retail location in the U.S., at the NFL Washington Commanders’ FedEx Field in Maryland.
In Ohio, Fanatics Sportsbook is partnered with the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets for digital and retail wagering and with the MLB Cleveland Guardians for a second brick-and-mortar location, though the company has not announced a timeline for opening either.
Latest launch also a sort of testing period
This month’s kickoff is markedly different than launches by other digital sportsbooks in how it is limited. Fanatics Sportsbook will continue something of a testing period, where the company will take feedback from this bigger group of consumers than in the initial beta test and potentially incorporate changes into the platform going forward.
Anyone else on the Fanatics Beta Sportsbook? pic.twitter.com/VQTSl4ELyf
— Ice Man (@PicksByIceMan) April 28, 2023
Those in the industry have been watching and waiting for the Fanatics Sportsbook launch since it became clear more than a year ago that the company would enter the space.
Rather than contract out for a platform, the company decided to build its own based on Amelco source code and keep the platform in-house, which stakeholders say allows for quicker response times to issues and more control overall. Fanatics Chairman and CEO Michael Rubin, who has been teasing the launch for months, said last week said that the goal is to be live in about a dozen states by this fall and to provide the unique opportunity to “give sports fans one place to do everything they want to do digitally.”
Fanatics is among the largest purveyors of sports merchandise in the U.S., and the new platform appears to give users the opportunity to earn “FanCash” points from wagering that they can then spend on gear. It also gives the company a chance to cross-promote all of its divisions, including team merchandise, wagering, collectibles, and trading cards.
Photo courtesy of Fanatics Sportsbook