The Connecticut sports betting industry will soon have a new operator. On Friday, the state’s lottery announced a new partnership with Fanatics Sportsbook.
The gaming wing of the Florida-based online sports betting merchandiser is set to replace Rush Street Interactive, which offered its PlaySugarHouse app and operated retail sportsbook locations in the Nutmeg State. RSI won the initial contract with the Connecticut Lottery Corporation in August 2021, but the sides announced back in March that the partnership would end just two years into a 10-year agreement. At the time, RSI CEO Richard Schwartz said the breakup was “in the best interest of RSI and our stockholders.”
A new request for Connecticut’s retail and legal online sports betting proposals was issued in April, with responses due six months ago. It’s anticipated the transition to Fanatics will take place later this month.
“Fanatics is the only true sports brand in the gaming space and has established itself as an innovator in the industry,” Greg Smith, CLC President & CEO, said in a statement. “We have been impressed with the Fanatics team, their aggressive entry into the U.S. sports betting market, and we are excited to see how they redefine the sports betting customer experience here in Connecticut. CLC anticipates notable market share growth as a result of this partnership.”
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Lone Competitor to Big Two in Connecticut
Unlike most states where sports betting is legal, Connecticut limits the number of licenses to just three operators. FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings hold the other two licenses in partnership with Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, respectively.
DraftKings and FanDuel are the two largest U.S. sports betting apps operators, and they have been since wagering rapidly expanded five years ago in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark PASPA ruling. Joining them in Connecticut is a new player with a well-known brand that has visions of competing with the industry’s dominant companies.
Fanatics has worked on its sports betting offering for the last couple of years. It brought on former FanDuel CEO Matt King two years ago to head up the division and initially launched in Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio and Tennessee earlier this year. It expanded to Kentucky in September.
Fanatics also acquired PointsBet’s American gaming operations in a $225 million deal with the Australian-based sportsbook. The purchase will make Fanatics available in 12 additional states. It has already transitioned PointsBet operations in Virginia and West Virginia to its platform and will be adding the other states in the coming months.
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What Fanatics Offers
When Fanatics launches in Connecticut, bettors will be able to download its mobile app, which is available for both Apple and Android devices. Bettors also will earn FanCash for each wager they make. FanCash rewards can be used for bonus bets or toward purchases at a Fanatics’ online site.
In addition, Fanatics says its app will provide users with a “curated” experience that allows them to see betting markets tailored to their interests and previous play.
“We are excited to be working with the CLC to bring the Fanatics Sportsbook to customers in Connecticut,” said Ari Borod, chief business officer for Fanatics Betting and Gaming. “We are looking forward to bringing the Fanatics experience to the ten retail locations throughout Connecticut and, more importantly, adding our innovative mobile app to the online choices available in Connecticut.”
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Steve is an accomplished, award-winning communicator with over 20 years of experience in journalism, public relations/public affairs, marketing, and business development. He currently covers a diverse set of beats for several publications focusing on legislation, litigation, government regulation, and oversight. This includes commercial and tribal gaming, commercial fishing, and state and local government reporting.