June 23rd marked a major step forward for Fanatics as the sports merchandise company was unanimously approved for a retail sports betting operator license by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming (MLG) Commission. This license paves the way for Fanatics to launch its much-anticipated sportsbook in Maryland, bringing yet another cutting-edge option for sports fans in the state to place bets on their favorite teams.
Key Milestone in Becoming a Licensed Gaming Operator
Fanatics has been working closely with MLG to ensure that it meets all requirements for becoming a licensed gaming operator, and today’s approval is a key milestone in that process. Alex Smith, VP of Regulatory Affairs for Fanatics, expressed excitement at the prospect of launching the company’s first sportsbook in Maryland.
It’s been a little over a year since sports betting was legalized in the state of Maryland, and the process of setting up facilities and awarding licenses is still underway. Up to 17 large sports betting facilities will be awarded licenses through a state-run process that began in 2021. These facilities will be allowed to partner with major retailers such as Fanatics, making them major players in the world of sports betting. The smaller retail licenses will be awarded via competitive bid later this year, with up to 30 businesses being given the opportunity to operate in the state.
Fanatics Seeks to Enter Mobile Sports Betting World
On May 17, Fanatics filed a trademark application for a mobile sports betting application to be called BetFanatics. This move comes as the company’s founder, Michael Rubin, announces that he is divesting his ownership stake in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, in order to avoid conflicts of interest with Fanatics’ emerging sports betting business. It remains to be seen how successful Fanatics will be as a mobile operator, but Rubin seems confident and determined to make it work.
“As our Fanatics business has grown, so too have the obstacles I have to navigate to ensure our new businesses don’t conflict with my responsibilities as part-owner of the Sixers,” Rubin said in a statement. “Given these realities, I will sadly be selling my stake in the Sixers and shifting from part-owner back to life-long fan.” Rubin’s decision to divest from the Sixers is a clear indication that he is laser-focused on making Fanatics a major player in the world of sports betting.
Maryland Sports Betting Industry
The rollout of retail sports betting in Maryland has been slow but is finally picking up speed. The Sports Wagering and Application Review Commission (SWARC) recently approved emergency regulations governing the awarding of 60 mobile licenses. This decision allows prospective applicants for both physical locations and the more lucrative mobile licenses to begin preparing for the application process.
Thomas Brandt, chair of the panel, said that the commission wants to ensure that all prospective applicants have a fair chance to apply for a license. The new regulations will be in effect for six months, after which they will be reviewed and potentially revised. In the meantime, anyone interested in applying for a license should begin gathering the necessary documentation and preparing their application. With the approval of these new regulations, the stage is set for an exciting and competitive race to secure one of the coveted mobile licenses.
This is good news for sports fans in Maryland who have been waiting patiently for legal betting opportunities. With mobile and retail options on the way, it won’t be long before they can start placing their bets on their favorite teams.
With Fanatics’ sportsbook set to enter the market, Maryland residents will have yet another top-notch option for legal sports betting. Thanks to the state’s progressive gaming laws, Maryland has become a destination for many of the country’s leading gaming operators, and Fanatics’ entry into the market is yet another sign that the state is continuing to lead the way in this rapidly growing industry.