Fanatics Approved As Maryland’s Newest Retail Sportsbook Operator

*UPDATE – July 7, 2022

The Washington Business Journal has reported that it’s likely Fanatics sportsbook will be partnering with the Washington Commanders and heading to FedEx Field. The report mentions that recent work orders from multiple contractor lists contain “Fanatics Sportsbook at FedEx Field” documentation.

Fanatics was recently announced as Maryland’s eighth retail sportsbook, but its physical location was not yet determined. The FedEx Field location makes sense, as Fanatics has a merchandising partnership with the Commanders through 2029.

Both the Commanders and Fanatics have yet to confirm the report.

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Maryland’s retail sports betting market just got a new roster member.

Fanatics, well-known merchandise and trading card company, has been approved by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission (MLG) to operate a retail sportsbook with a yet-to-be-determined sports betting facility.

MLG official John Mooney alluded to the announcement in last week’s Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) meeting, and the approval was made official on Thursday.

About Fanatics

Fanatics was founded in 2011 and has made its name as an online retailer of licensed sportswear and merchandise, operating the e-commerce businesses of major professional sports leagues and media brands.

It’s been no secret that the company has had its sights set on the sports betting market for months. On May 17, the merch giant applied for the trademark “BETFANATICS” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which it said will be used for all online and retail sports betting applications.

CEO Michael Rubin has made it well-known that he wants his brand to be dominant in the sports space. Already a household name for sports merchandise, Fanatics recently entered the collectibles market with a partnership with Candy Digital.

Candy Digital allows fans to buy, sell, and trade officially licensed sports NFTs and has exclusive partnerships with the MLB, MLBPA, college teams, and others.

The foray into the sports betting world seems like a natural next step for Fanatics which wants to offer a one-stop shop for sports fans in the digital space.

“Long term, my goal for Fanatics is very simple,” Rubin said on the Bill Simmons podcast. “I want billions of sports fans globally looking at Fanatics as a beloved brand and use us to do most things digitally. That’s long-term.”

Eight Retail Sportsbooks and Counting

Fanatics will become the state’s eighth retail sportsbook. A total of 17 locations that have been designated for a retail license under Maryland’s 2021 sports betting law.

The locations include casinos, off-track betting (OTBs), racetracks, bingo halls, and pro sports stadiums.

Eight sportsbook companies that have opened or will open retail sportsbooks in Maryland:

  • Barstool Sports (Hollywood Casino in Perryville)
  • Caesars Sportsbook (Horseshoe Casino Baltimore)
  • FanDuel Sportsbook (Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover)
  • BetMGM (MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill)
  • TwinSpires (Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin)
  • PointsBet (Riverboat on the Potomac) not yet operational
  • BetRivers (Bingo World) not yet operational
  • Fanatics (Partnership to be announced)  not yet operational

Bingo World and Riverboat on the Potomac have been awarded retail sports betting facility licenses and are completing the necessary regulatory steps before being signed off by the MLG.

Two others, OTBs Long Shot’s in Frederick and Greenmount Station in Hampstead, have also been awarded sports betting licenses but have yet to partner with a sportsbook.

What’s Next for Maryland Sports Betting?

While retail sports betting has been in play since December 2021, the Old Line State is still patiently waiting for the licensing of up to 60 mobile sportsbooks.

On June 14, Gov. Larry Hogan pressed the issue by releasing a letter urging the SWARC to have online betting launched by the start of the NFL season on Sept. 8.

In a subsequent SWARC meeting on June 16, Chairman Tom Brandt acknowledged the letter and said that the commission has been working as “diligently as possible” on preliminary regulations and application drafts.

Brandt said he expects SWARC to begin accepting applications from potential licensees this summer. The SWARC will be holding another special public meeting on Thursday, June 30.

About the Author

Ryan Hagen

Ryan Hagen is a freelance writer for Maryland Sharp. He’s spent most of his career writing in roles that have ranged from copywriter at a boutique ad agency to corporate communications at a large oil firm. His true passion is sports, and he’s now been writing in the sports gaming industry for the last couple of years. He enjoys sports betting and usually bets a little too much when he loses and not quite enough when he wins.