Massachusetts bettors will have to wait a couple more weeks to make a bet with Fanatics.
The sports-merch-turned-sportsbook giant was supposed to launch this week. However, Bruce Band, the director of sports betting for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), said at an MGC meeting this week that Fanatics will likely launch at the end of the month.
“Fanatics has submitted everything we’ve requested,” Band said during the meeting. “They’ve indicated they would start operations at the end of this month.”
During the meeting, commissioners approved Fanatics’ application for a Category 3 sports wagering license, too.
Massachusetts launch is a landmark one for Fanatics
Massachusetts is the first state in which Fanatics will launch a sportsbook. The company is also working on launches in Ohio and Tennessee.
Massachusetts presents a tremendous opportunity for the company, as the state tallied the sixth-biggest sports betting handle (money wagered) in the country last month.
When it goes live, Fanatics will be the eighth mobile sportsbook in the state. While the company likely won’t be able to compete with heavy hitters DraftKings and FanDuel, which captured 80% of the handle share in March.
However, it’s likely Fanatics can battle WynnBet, which captured a 3.3% share last month, for the fifth sport.
What this means for Fanatics and Massachusetts
In the big picture, Fanatics pushing back its launch is not a big deal. Operators often run into issues when they’re trying to launch. Sometimes those issues don’t delay a launch; sometimes they do.
And because this is Fanatics’ first crack at online sports betting, it’s not unusual for it to hold off on market entry to work out quirks and issues.
If Massachusetts was a new market and Fanatics was one of many companies prepping for a launch, the delay would be critical. However, that’s not the case, as Massachusetts online sports betting has only been available for a few months and there are a relatively small number of operators in the state.
Massachusetts launch is first step of many Fanatics online sports betting
Earlier this month, Fanatics announced it bought Australia-based PointsBet, a struggling sportsbook that hasn’t managed to thrive in the US market.
Fanatics’ Massachusetts launch is not part of that acquisition. Rather, it’s something that Fanatics has been working on for months now.
Originally, the operator planned on launching this week, Band said in an MGC meeting last week. He did provide a reason why Fanatics delayed its launch.