After eight months of negotiations, Connecticut’s betting operator, the Connecticut Lottery Corporation named Fanatics Betting and Gaming as its new sports betting partner. Fanatics will take over the Lottery’s retail and mobile sportsbook operations in mid-December.
Rush Street Interactive Winds Down
In April, Rush Street Interactive (RSI) pulled out after only two years into a 10-year deal with the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) which allowed Fanatics to bid for those vacated rights.
After learning of the RSI’s intention to exit the market, Gregory Smith, President of the CLC, commented, “We thank RSI for working closely with CLC to establish the foundation for CLC’s sports betting operation, both online and in retail.”
RSI operated PlaySugarHouse.com and nine retail establishments throughout Connecticut in partnership with the CLC. Richard Schwartz, CEO of RSI, said, “We thank the CLC for their partnership over the last two years. We are proud of what we have accomplished together in Connecticut and have enjoyed the relationships that we have built with the players.
“Consistent with our long-term strategic goals, after much deliberation and discussions with the CLC, we believe it is in the best interest of RSI and our stockholders to wind down this partnership,” Schwartz added.
Fanatics Continues to Grow
Fanatics has not been shy about seeking out new markets to operate its nascent sports betting apparatus. After acquiring PointsBet’s U.S. assets for $225 million and gaining a foothold in those states, the company continues to strike whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Although the terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed nor the number of bidders, the CLC stated it was “pleased with the quality and quantity of the respondents.” Fanatics now gain entry into a market with just two other sportsbooks, FanDuel and DraftKings.
“Fanatics is the only true sports brand in the gaming space and has established itself as an innovator in the industry,” said Greg Smith, CLC President & CEO. “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.”
“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 ten retail locations throughout Connecticut and more importantly, adding our innovative mobile app to the online choices available in Connecticut.”
Can They Go Against the Duopoly?
Fanatics will have its work cut out in trying to erode the majority share of the market enjoyed by what has been referred to as the nation’s sports betting duopoly with FanDuel and DraftKings. RSI was said to have approximately 15% of the annual $136 million in gross gaming revenue reported by the three sportsbooks in Connecticut.
Fanatics believes it can use that foundation as a springboard to bigger and better returns using its extensive list obtained by its sports merchandising brand to turn fans who buy merch into fans who also like to bet.
The transition from RSI to Fanatics is expected to occur sometime within the next few weeks.