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Fanatics soft launches sports betting in Connecticut

| By Robert Fletcher
The Fanatics Betting and Gaming (FBG) subsidiary of Fanatics has announced the soft launch of online and retail sports wagering in Connecticut.
Connecticut Fanatics

This week, the Fanatics Sportsbook will accept 2,000 online players in the state. A full launch will follow in Connecticut from 18 December.

Players in Connecticut can download the Fanatics Sportsbook to wager online. Consumers can also visit any of 10 retail sports betting locations to bet in person. 

The soft launch comes less than two weeks after FBG was named as the new sports betting partner of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC).

This agreement designates Fanatics Sportsbook as the Connecticut Lottery’s exclusive sports betting partner across mobile and retail betting. The transition had been expected to occur in mid-December.

Fanatics replaces Rush Street Interactive in Connecticut

FBG takes the place of Rush Street Interactive (RSI), the Connecticut Lottery’s former sports betting partner. The two parties announced that they would wind down their partnership in March

Connecticut marks the ninth state for the Fanatics Sportsbook since FBG agreed to acquire PointsBet US in June. However, the Connecticut Lottery partnership is separate to this.

PointsBet shareholders approved the higher offer in June, clearing the way for the deal to proceed. Since then, Fanatics has slowly started to take over PointsBet’s operations across the US. This has seen existing PointsBet sportsbooks moved over to the Fanatics platform.

In total, the Fanatics Sportsbook is now live in in Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia. Last week, Fanatics also launched in Colorado.

FBG previously stated that subsequent completions in other US markets are tracking as planned. The operator has not put a timescale on when it expects further acquisition and subsequent launches to be finalised.

Facing off against heavy hitters

Fanatics will now directly complete with DraftKings and FanDuel in Connecticut. The state’s most recently monthly results for October show DraftKings as the leading online gaming operator, with FanDuel close behind.

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

Meanwhile, last month ESPN, whose brand ESPN Bet is also based in the state and is operated by Penn Entertainment launched in 17 US states, but notably, not in Connecticut. This was due to Connecticut’s tribal monopoly rules, with the Connecticut Lottery deal with FBG blocking ESPN Bet from launching in the 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. 

FBG has now officially taken the third available position.

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