Fanatics, the Florida-based sports clothing, memorabilia, and collectibles online merchandise marketplace is looking to make its sports betting entrance in 2023. According to CNBC, an anonymous member of Fanatics shared the details surrounding Fanatics’ latest attempt to buy the BetParx Sportsbook brand.
According to the press release by CNBC, an insider with knowledge of the potential acquisition shared the details without company permission. Apparently, Fanatics has signed a letter of intent to buy BetParx, a popular online sportsbook that launched in 2022 in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, and as of 2023, Ohio.
Recent Development by Fanatics
Fanatics made it clear last year they fully intend to take a swing at the online sports wagering market. At one point, Fanatics was discussing purchasing Tipico, an online gambling retailer licensed in Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, and New Jersey, with no success.
Last year, Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin made some investment adjustments to allow the company to enter the sports betting market. According to rules in place by the NBA, team owners are prohibited from operating any gambling platforms. Rubin had owned a 10% stake in Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment, owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils.
The company also raised $700 million in new financing from private equity firm Clearlake Capital (partial owner of Chelsea Football Club). The investment helped Fanatics end last year with more than $2 billion in cash and a company valuation of $31 billion. According to an anonymous representative from Fanatics, the company is predicting to generate $8 billion in 2023.
In 2023, however, they’re off to a slow start, with no online sportsbooks live, as of February 2023. On the bright side, the brand opened the first retail sportsbook at an NFL stadium at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Commanders. The company also has sportsbook deals with the Columbus Bluejackets and Cleveland Guardians.
Rubin also made comments last fall expressing that they wanted to launch Fanatics Sportsbook in “15 to 20” states by the start of the 2023 NFL season, according to LegalSportsReport.
During the 2022 CAA World Congress of Sports, Rubin said, “In the betting business, we’re going to start launching in multiple states in January . . . We’ll be in every major state, other than New York where you can’t make money, by next football season.”
The only possible way to accomplish such a task in a short period is by acquiring an online sports betting brand with multiple licenses already in place.
What Would an Acquisition Mean for BetParx Michigan?
Currently, Michigan’s online sports betting market is at capacity. The 15 allotted licenses are taken, meaning Fanatics would have to acquire a regulated brand to enter Michigan’s booming sports betting market. If Fanatics did purchase Betparx, we would likely see a transition similar to when Sports Illustrated took TwinSpires’ spot, and formed a partnership with the Island Resort and Casino.
BetParx was created by Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment and Playtech, an online gambling software supplier. The online sports betting and igaming brand launched in Pennsylvania and New Jersey before gaining licenses in Maryland, Michigan, and Ohio. In Michigan, the online casino and sports betting brand partners with the Gun Lake Casino.
Unfortunately, sources were unable to identify a price for the acquisition of BetParx. Fanatics was also considering an IPO, but sources have claimed they’re “looking to complete an acquisition in the gambling space, among other possible deals, ahead of going public.”
Fanatics, BetParx, and the Gun Lake Casino have all refused to comment on the recent developments.
Mac Daniel is a Michigan native and freelance writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com