Massachusetts Regulators Concerned With Fanatics Plan to Cross-Sell Gaming to Merch Customers

  • An MGC hearing took place Thursday to review Fanatics’ online sportsbook license application
  • Fanatics has made its name as a major player in the sports merchandise industry
  • Fanatics answered many questions regarding its plan to cross-sell betting to merch customers
  • No BetFanatics sportsbooks are active in the US yet, despite plans to launch in early 2023
Fanatics website
The MGC has concerns over Fanatics’ plan to cross-sell sports betting to its merchandise customers. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Asking questions

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has expressed concerns over Fanatics’ plan to cross-sell gaming to its merchandise customers. An MGC hearing took place on Thursday to review Fanatics’ online sports betting license application.

might expose underage people to gambling

Over the years, Fanatics has made its name in the sports merchandise industry but it is now looking to expand into the sports betting space through the BetFanatics brand. MGC commissioners are concerned that cross-selling to merchandise customers might expose underage people to gambling.

Among other questions relating to responsible gambling, the MGC asked Fanatics how it would prevent underage customers from viewing its gaming marketing. Some commissioners had concerns about the aggressiveness of the operator’s pitch and the language used.

Still up in the air

Fanatics assured the regulator it is fully aware of its responsibilities and plans to comply with all relevant regulations. According to the firm, all commerce customers will be able to opt-out from receiving betting-related messages, which will not go to anyone under the age of 21. It plans to work with various technology providers to avoid marketing to minors.

license review will continue next week

With some commissioners facing time constraints, the MGC did not come to a final decision regarding Fanatics’ license application on Thursday. The license review will continue next week.

Fanatics submitted its application for an online sportsbook license tethered to Plainridge Park Casino. Each of the three commercial casinos in the state can partner with up to two online operators, with Plainridge Park also partnering Barstool Sportsbook.

To date, the MGC has issued retail betting licenses to each of the state’s commercial casinos, while also approving four online sportsbook licenses. The MGC received a total of 15 sports betting license applications.

No launches as of yet

While Fanatics has been busy making moves to enter sports betting markets in numerous states, it has not yet launched any sportsbooks. The firm has licenses in Ohio and Maryland and applications are pending in another five states. Execs already announced plans for an early 2023 launch of the BetFanatics sportsbook.

Fanatics was founded in 1995 and is a manufacturer and retailer of licensed sports collectibles, sportswear, and other forms of sports merchandise.

The sportsbook platform has undergone extensive testing in a private domain. It utilizes technology from UK-based Amelco, with FOX Bet and the Hard Rock Sportsbook using similar technology. If it receives approval in Massachusetts, BetFanatics will get to launch at some stage in March as per the current timeline for sportsbooks in the state.