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Fanatics takes big step towards launching Maryland sportsbook

Maryland sports betting news

The fact that Fanatics was given preliminary clearance for a brick-and-mortar sportsbook in Maryland only last week is just an indication that the company will soon begin offering sports wagering in the state.

At its meeting last week, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (MLGCC) ruled in support of the motion without a single dissenting vote being cast. According to the committee’s findings, Fanatics is in a healthy financial position.

“Fanatics Holdings has sufficient liquidity to meet its financial obligations and working capital requirements for the foreseeable future. Additionally, the Company’s financial ratios and margins are generally favorable and its auditors have not expressed any concern with the Company’s financial condition or operations,” according to the commission.

To begin activities in the state, the sports venture and trading card powerhouse must first receive authorization from the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC).

On Tuesday last week, the founder of Fanatics, Michael Rubin, made the announcement that he would be selling 10 percent of his interest in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment. This is the establishment that owns the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Experts in the sector believe that Rubin is selling his shares in order to avoid breaking league rules that prohibit shareholders from being involved directly with gaming organizations. These rules prohibit owners from having any financial interest in a gaming company. 

After hearing that news, several sources reported that Fanatics was reportedly in negotiations to acquire the German sportsbook operator Tipico. That company, which is owned and operated by CVC Capital Partners, also has a presence in the markets of Colorado and New Jersey, in addition to having access to the markets of a number of additional states.
 
There is still the question of whether or not Fanatics will be successful in closing that offer. The corporation has been linked to a number of speculation surrounding industry consolidations, including PointsBet, Rush Street Interactive (NYSE:RSI), Churchill Downs’ (NASDAQ:CHDN) TwinSpires Racing unit, Swedish gaming giant Betsson, and WynnBet, amongst others. However, Fanatics has not yet confirmed that a deal will take place.

Maryland still dragging heels on mobile betting

In November of 2020, voters in Maryland gave their approval to authorize sports betting. However, despite the decision of the Supreme Court in 2018 striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), online sports wagering is not yet operational in Maryland.

In order for Maryland to make the most of the 2022 football season, Governor Larry Hogan is putting pressure on SWARC to speed up the approval process and grant licenses as soon as possible. At the moment, the only casinos in Maryland that accept bets on sporting events are the state’s five traditional casinos, which means that the state is missing out on potential revenue from online betting.

Due to the fact that mobile betting is not an option in Maryland, citizens are forced to drive to surrounding states to place their bets, which is costing their own state huge amounts of money in tax income. The fact that some analysts predict that internet sports betting will not really launch in the state until early 2023 complicates matters even further.

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