After months of hype and press releases, Fanatics Sportsbook will finally be taking wagers, and Tennessee looks to be its first legal market. Tennessee’s Sports Wagering Advisory Council last week approved Fanatics to launch, and the sportsbook has been in beta testing since March 2.
What can Tennessee bettors expect from the new online sportsbook and what’s next for Fanatics?
Fanatics Adds to Tennessee’s Online Sports Betting Market
Despite the Fanatics Sportsbook beta testing in Tennessee, exact details on the features of the mobile sportsbook are few and far between. This is par for the course with Fanatics, however, as the entire company has kept things quiet since announcing its intent to join the sports betting industry.
One feature shown in the app’s only available screenshot has been a loyalty program dubbed ‘FanCash’. When users place bets, they will accrue FanCash which can then be redeemed for Fanatics products.
When asked if the sportsbook would be accepting wagers in time for March Madness, Fanatics VP of Regulatory Affairs Alex Smith gave a non-commital answer by saying, “We hope you’re taking bets with us very, very shortly.”
Fanatics will become the 13th online sportsbook to receive a license from Tennessee’s SWAC although not all operators are currently live. Bally Bet has received a license but has yet to launch, and Wagr was operating in the Volunteer State but has temporarily taken its app offline for ‘technical reintegration work’.
In January 2023, Tennessee’s online sportsbooks combined to take in more than $410 million in wagers. This was up more than 6% compared to January 2022 as legal betting in the state continues to grow.
To date, Tennessee has seen more than $7.3 billion in total wagers placed since officially launching in November 2020.
What’s Next for Fanatics Sportsbook?
Fanatics is behind its projected launch schedule. In October, CEO Michael Rubin said the sportsbook would start going live “in multiple states in January” and be in “every major state” by the start of the 2023 NFL season.
Fanatics has yet to start accepting mobile wagers in any state and has just one retail sportsbook — located inside FedEx Field in Maryland.
With the launch of Fanatics Sportsbook Tennessee imminent, however, this could be the first domino leading to a rapid expansion. Fanatics also holds mobile licenses in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Ohio.
Although Massachusetts will be rolling out mobile sports betting on March 10, Fanatics has already told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission it will not be ready to go live on launch day.
Maryland expanded from retail only to mobile sportsbooks in late November while Ohio went live with legal sports betting on New Year’s Day.
If Fanatics wants to hit the ground running, it should be doing everything in its power to launch in Tennessee prior to the start of March Madness. With both Vols basketball programs set for the NCAA Tournament, a new sportsbook could take off in the state.
A strong sports betting promo would also go a long way toward a successful launch in Tennessee. Fanatics is uniquely positioned to do so as well, given its massive customer base and ability to include its merchandising business as part of a new user promo.