What Needs To Happen For Fanatics Sportsbook To Launch In Pennsylvania

Written By Corey Sharp on June 2, 2023 - Last Updated on July 12, 2023
Fanatics Sportsbook still has a few steps to complete in order to launch in the PA gaming market.

Fanatics Sportsbook will arrive as a PA online sports betting option soon for bettors. The sports merchandise company, headed by former Sixers minority owner Michael Rubin, still needs to go through the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s (PGCB) protocols to operate within the state.

Once Fanatics enters the market through the PointsBet license, it has a tough road to compete with incumbent sportsbooks, but has the ability to use its wide customer base.

Fanatics Sportsbook has additional steps to take in Pennsylvania

Fanatics bought PointsBet’s US assets for $150 million to be able to operate as a sportsbook and online casino.

While the deal appears to be done, PointsBet shareholders still need to sign off on the transaction. PointsBet’s board provided unanimous approval for the deal, however, there is a shareholders meeting later this month.

Assuming shareholders grant approval in June, Fanatics still has some hurdles to jump before operating in Pennsylvania. PGCB Director of Communications, Doug Harbach, told PlayPennsylvania the protocol for Fanatics to launch in the Keystone State:

“With this acquisition, the Board will need to receive a change of control petition and our Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement will need to complete the investigation of the Fanatics entities and principals that were received when they applied last year. Once the Board acts on the change of control and the investigation wraps up, they would be in line to gain interim authorization for the Fanatics entities and principals, and then they can operate under the PointsBet operator license.”

Fanatics declined comment to PlayPennsylvania on any timetable regarding a Pennsylvania launch. Harbach also did not know of a timeline on the matter, either.

Fanatics enters into a crowded PA online sportsbook market

With FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings dominating sports betting in Pennsylvania, it’ll be difficult for Fanatics to compete at the top.

While FanDuel and DraftKings make up 62% of lifetime handle in Pennsylvania, there’s a second tier of sportsbooks that compete for similar market share. The following sportsbooks make up 30% of lifetime market share in the Keystone State:

  • Barstool Sportsbook
  • BetMGM Sportsbook
  • BetRivers Sportsbook
  • PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook
  • betPARX Sportsbook

Since Fanatics is the largest sports merchandise retailer in the world, the company already has 95 million existing customers. Perhaps this will allow the operator to compete among this second tier immediately.

Compare the latest PA online sportsbook promos currently being offered for April 2024

Fanatics’ marketing already called into question

Fanatics Sportsbook is operating in Ohio and already came under scrutiny for a marketing strategy it employed.

The company had been offering a bet credit in the amount of merchandise purchases for anyone signed up with the sportsbook app. While Fanatics is trying to leverage its existing customers, the strategy caught the eye of the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC). The OCCC instructed Fanatics to take down the promotion, in which Fanatics obliged.

The issue with offering bonus bets in the checkout of a purchase is the large amounts of underage shoppers. While an underage player could never go through completely signing up on the app, Fanatics is walking a tight line in regards to responsible gambling by potentially targeting an underage audience.

Fanatics has a leg-up with a massive customer base, but it has to find a way to utilize it effectively and within the responsible gambling parameters.

It’ll be interesting to see how Fanatics operates in Pennsylvania. Since Rubin is a former minority owner of the Sixers, it’s entirely possible Fanatics could offer special promotions or deals for Sixers fans.

Photo by Fanatics
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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