Fanatics Sportsbook Set To Enter Connecticut Via State’s Lottery

Written By Derek Helling on December 1, 2023
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Fanatics’ ambition to have its online gambling product live for a significant portion of the United States population is becoming gradually more realistic. Through a new partnership with the Connecticut Lottery, Fanatics’ online sportsbook will enter its eighth state.

After a few months of deliberation, the Connecticut Lottery has found its partner to revamp its sports wagering operations. The lottery hopes that working with Fanatics will do more to grow its presence in Connecticut.

Connecticut Lottery lands on Fanatics

After the Connecticut Lottery sent out a request for proposals in April, the selection process is complete. According to a news release from Fanatics Betting and Gaming, “Fanatics Sportsbook will serve as the Connecticut Lottery Corporation’s exclusive sports betting partner for mobile and retail channels.”

The Connecticut Lottery needed a new partner for its sportsbook operations because Rush Street Interactive and it agreed to end their relationship in March. Rush Street handled sportsbook ops for the Connecticut Lottery from the time legal sports betting went live in Connecticut in late 2021.

The press release states that the re-branding to Fanatics Sportsbook will occur sometime in December. Fanatics offers apps for both Android and iOS devices which people in Connecticut will be able to use to place bets at that time.

In addition, the Connecticut Lottery’s physical sportsbook locations will switch to Fanatics. While it’s currently unclear exactly how the Connecticut Lottery has fared in terms of gaining bettors’ attention, this transition could represent a renewed effort in that regard.

Marketing push could accompany Fanatics takeover

In the release, Connecticut Lottery Corp. CEO Greg Smith said that the company “anticipates notable market share growth as a result of this partnership” with Fanatics. That suggests that to some degree, the Lottery will promote its new sports betting product.

Fanatics could augment that with some marketing spend of its own in Connecticut. While advertising alone may not produce the growth that Smith discussed on a long-term basis, Fanatics’ brand awareness for sports fans should help.

Comparatively, it’s likely that likely bettors in Connecticut were less familiar with Rush Street’s brand. At the same time, the competition in Connecticut is formidable. The two tribal casino operators, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe, have notable partners of their own.

For the Mashantucket, that’s DraftKings. On the Mohegan side, the partner is FanDuel. Wrestling market share away from the combination will not be easy. At the same time, taking sports betting dollars might not be all the lottery and Fanatics have in mind.

Online casino ambitions for the Connecticut Lottery?

While Fanatics Betting and Gaming is developing its online casino product, that development is currently a somewhat moot point in Connecticut. The law in the state does not allow the Connecticut Lottery to offer games like online slots and table games.

That could change in the future should the two tribal casino operators agree. While they are likely to oppose such an expansion of the Lottery’s operations, the state could allow the tribes to expand their gaming in other ways as a quid pro quo. Such an exchange of concessions is how the Connecticut Lottery is currently able to offer sports betting in the state.

Should that occur, Fanatics would likely be ready with its online casino product at that time. For now, however, Fanatics will try to grow its sportsbook brand in its eighth state and if it does so successfully, the Connecticut Lottery will benefit.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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