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Connecticut Lottery names Fanatics as sports betting partner

| By Marese O'Hagan
The Connecticut Lottery Corporation has named Fanatics Betting and Gaming (FBG), a subsidiary of Fanatics, as its new sports betting partner in Connecticut.
Fanatics

As part of the deal, the Fanatics Sportsbook will become the Connecticut Lottery’s exclusive sports betting partner, covering both mobile and retail betting. The transition is expected to occur in mid-December.

The Fanatics Sportsbook will be available across ten retail betting locations in Connecticut, as well as on mobile.

Greg Smith, president and CEO of the Connecticut Lottery, said it expects growth in market share as a result of the partnership.

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

“We have been impressed with the Fanatics team, their aggressive entry into the US 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.”

How did we get here?

FBG will now take the place of Rush Street Interactive (RSI), the Connecticut Lottery’s former sports betting partner.

RSI and the Connecticut Lottery announced that they would wind down their partnership in March in this year, with RSI committing to operate sports betting in Connecticut until a replacement was found.

This is the latest state taken over by FBG since PointsBet sold its US business to the company earlier this year. Although the Connecticut Lottery partnership is separate to this, it signifies a growing presence for Fanatics in the US. 

The deal for FBG to acquire PointsBet US for $150.0m (£118.7m/€138.3m) was initially agreed in May.

However, DraftKings quickly entered the ring, proposing a much higher bid of $195.0m. While PointsBet agreed to engage with DraftKings on the proposal, FBG ultimately won the battle with a $225.0m bid.

Following the deal’s closure, FBG began to integrate its Fanatics Sportsbook where PointsBet US had formerly been. FBG quickly launched its Fanatics Sportsbook in four states – Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio and Tennessee. This signified the beginning of the takeover.

Weeks later FBG entered eight more states, which included New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and later closed in on two more. FBG completed the transfer of operations in Virginia and West Virginia last month.

Up against heavy hitters

FBG is now in direct contention with DraftKings and FanDuel, two of Connecticut’s – and the US industry’s – biggest online operators. In Connecticut’s latest monthly results for October, DraftKings remained the state’s leading online gaming operator, with FanDuel close behind.

DraftKings is partnered with the Mashantucket Pequot tribe in Connecticut and FanDuel is partnered with Mohegan Sun.

It’s also worth noting that ESPN – whose brand ESPN Bet is operated by Penn Entertainment – is headquartered in the state. Last month ESPN Bet launched across 17 US states, but this did not include Connecticut.

This is due to Connecticut’s tribal monopoly rules, which means that the Connecticut Lottery deal with FBG will now block ESPN Bet from launching in ESPN’s native state.

In May 2021, Ned Lamont, the governor of Connecticut, signed a bill that legalised online sports betting in the state.

This permitted the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribes to offer sports wagering, with each tribe allowed to operate one skin for sports betting and one skin for igaming.

The Connecticut Lottery was also permitted to run one skin for sports wagering through the deal – as long as this occurred outside tribal lands – along with retail betting at 15 locations statewide.

With FBG now officially taking the third available position, ESPN Bet will be shut out of launching in Connecticut, at least for now.

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