The Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) has confirmed that Fanatics Betting and Gaming will become its new exclusive sports betting partner. Breaking the news on Friday, Dec. 8, Greg Smith, President and CEO of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation revealed that this announcement comes after Fanatics completed an eight-month long process.
“Fanatics is the only true sports brand in the gaming space and has established itself as an innovator in the industry. 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,” Smith said.
Prior to April 2023, Rush Street Interactive was the exclusive partner running sports betting operations for the Connecticut Lottery Corporation. Rush Street, the parent company of BetRivers and SugarHouse Sportsbook, had earlier signed a 10-year deal with the CLC back in 2021.
However, the company announced its plan to end the partnership barely two years into its contract and after beating tough competition like BetMGM and Caesars to it. Rush Street was also considerably profitable, generating $20 million in adjusted sports betting revenue, accounting for 15% of the market share in the Nutmeg State.
The emergence of Fanatics in the Connecticut sports betting market means it will have to compete with two of the industry’s existing leaders, namely DraftKings and FanDuel. Interestingly, Fanatics beat both brands to become the CLC’s sportsbook provider despite them dominating market share in New England.
During the bidding process for the partnership, Fanatics did not make public their interest. However, there were several indicators that the sportsbook operator had a keen interest in the state. The CLC appears to have been swayed by the massive long-term plans and prospects of the sportsbook.
According to Michael Rubin, Fanatics CEO, the sportsbook aims to be the nation’s largest operator. Without a doubt, Fanatics has the unique product offering to achieve this goal. For instance, the sportsbook is able to combine the sale of NFTs and sports merchandise alongside its sports betting operation.
As it stands, Fanatics, FanDuel and DraftKings are now the only sportsbook operators in the Connecticut market, a state that is deemed to have one of the highest sports betting prospects. UConn is one of the leading drivers of this industry as the college went on to win a fifth NCAA Men’s Basketball championship back in May.
The deal with the Connecticut Lottery Commission will put the Fanatics in charge of mobile and retail sportsbooks channels owned by the state’s lottery. Currently, the CLC owns 10 sports betting locations in the state. It recently opened its newest retail sportsbook in the Hartford XL Center back in September.
Fanatics, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer to retail sports betting, launching its first retail sportsbook at FedEx Field, Maryland in January. With the deal now complete, Fanatics is expected to roll out sports betting operations in mid-December as revealed by the company’s representatives.
“We are excited to be working with the CLC to bring the Fanatics Sportsbook to customers in Connecticut,” said Ari Borod, Fanatics’ chief business officer. “We are looking forward to bringing the Fanatics experience to the retail locations throughout Connecticut and more importantly, adding our innovative mobile app to the online choices available in Connecticut.”
Expectations are also high from a financial standpoint. Fanatics accepted bets worth $13.7 million in Maryland back in October. According to Greg Smith, the CLC predicts a “notable market share growth” due to the partnership with Fanatics.
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