With Fanatics’ sportsbook launch in Massachusetts presumably less than 10 days away, the company has chosen not to offer a controversial merchandise-for-bets promo, according to a Fanatics spokesperson who talked with PlayMA.
The choice is likely frustrating for Fanatics, which was probably banking on the promo to convert its vast merchandise customer base.
What is the Fanatics merchandise promo?
Earlier this month, a bit of an outcry arose over a Fanatics sports betting promo on its merchandise site for Ohio customers.
The company, a premier merchandise provider for college and professional sports, was giving Ohio customers a bonus bet on Fanatics sportsbook equal to the customer’s pre-tax, pre-shipping order amount.
For example, if a customer located in Ohio spent $99 on a Trevor Lawrence jersey, the customer’s cart would show a $99 bonus bet with the following note:
We’re matching your eligible purchase as a Bonus Bet to use on the Fanatics Sportsbook app. New Fanatics Sportsbook accounts only. One per account. Cannot be combined with any other off. 21+. Ohio only. See offer terms. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission was quick to shut the promo down.
The move was a blow to Fanatics’ efforts to increase its share of the lucrative Ohio sports betting market. It is the only sportsbook in the state that also runs a substantial merchandise company. In theory, Fanatics had hoped to convert many of its retail customers to sportsbook customers.
And, that’s what brought us to where we are ahead of Fanatics’ launch in Massachusetts.
Fanatics spokesperson says merchandise promo is off in Massachusetts
Fanatics’ choice to skip offering a merchandise-for-bonus promo in Massachusetts is likely due to two factors. The company did not want a PR debacle during its launch, as grabbing market share in any state with legal sports betting is hard enough on its own.
Second, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission may have already let Fanatics know that the promo wouldn’t fly.
In either case, Fanatics has to enter the market without a promo that would’ve given it a considerable advantage against well-established competitors like DraftKings and FanDuel.
That being said, the company will likely offer promos for all new users. In many cases, the promos are one of the two following types:
- Welcome bonuses: Signing up earns you a bonus bet that may be marketed as a “free” bet. The bet amount is typically based on how big your initial deposit.
- “No-sweat” bets: These bets are like a type of insurance; if your first bet loses, the sportsbook refills your account with a promo bet balance equal to what you lost.
It’s important to read the fine print for bet promos. For example, some sportsbooks may that a no-sweat bet meets certain minimum odds.