Fanatics Secures Connecticut Lottery Sports Betting Partnership

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Fanatics Betting & Gaming has clinched a deal with the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) to become its exclusive provider for mobile and retail sports betting in the state.

The sports merchandise company’s gambling operation is fast-growing, with this agreement expanding Fanatics sportsbook’s reach to 15 states. The app is expected to launch for Connecticut online sports betting in mid-December.

It will pit Fanatics against established competitors FanDuel and DraftKings, who have been dominant in market share across the U.S. in recent years.

The previous Connecticut Lottery sports betting partner, Illinois-based Rush Street Interactive, has now wound down its operations in the state.

“We are excited to be working with the CLC to bring the Fanatics Sportsbook to customers in Connecticut,” said Ari Borod, chief business officer at Fanatics Betting & Gaming, in a company press release.

“We are looking forward to bringing the Fanatics experience to the ten retail locations throughout Connecticut, and more importantly, adding our innovative mobile app to the online choices available in Connecticut.”  

Connecticut’s Evolving Sports Betting Landscape

The shift in Connecticut’s sports betting landscape began with the legalization of sports betting in March 2021.

This change was part of a gaming expansion package that reworked the state’s gaming compacts with the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, allowing them to form online and retail sportsbooks in Connecticut.

In turn, the Connecticut Lottery was permitted to partner with a third-party sportsbook operator for conducting sports gambling activities in-person and online.

Prior to Fanatics’ entry, Rush Street Interactive had secured that deal. It pledged to deliver a minimum revenue share of $170 million for a 10-year partnership.

However, the projections fell short, as the SugarHouse Sportsbook could not match the expected revenue, leading to Rush Street Interactive ending its partnership with the Connecticut Lottery in April.

Rush Street’s exit reflects the challenges faced by various operators in the highly competitive and often unpredictable sports betting industry. Casualties in 2023 have included WynnBet, FoxBet, and most recently, Unibet, which is set to depart all U.S markets in October.

Rush Street partly blamed its inability to compete with Connecticut online casinos offered by other sportsbook operators in the state, as the Lottery’s partner is restricted only to sports betting.

Fanatics Impresses Connecticut Lottery Execs

However, as one door closes, another opens – and Fanatics has clearly not been put off by the lack of online casino opportunity under the deal.

Fanatics’ emergence as a sports betting partner follows the CLC’s rigorous bidding process, where its offer was deemed the best among several bids. The Lottery’s decision underscores the company’s growing reputation in the sector.

With Connecticut now added to the states Fanatics sportsbook launched in throughout 2023, and the surprise launch among online casinos in Virginia, it has been a busy year for the operator.

“Fanatics is the only true sports brand in the gaming space, and has established itself as an innovator in the industry,” said Greg Smith, Connecticut Lottery president & CEO.

“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. CLC anticipates notable market share growth as a result of this partnership.”

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