While it was previously reported that Fanatics Sportsbook should be among the six untethered (not connected to a physical sportsbook location) sportsbook operators to launch in early March, the famous brand appears to be running behind schedule. Matt King, the CEO of betting and gaming at Fanatics told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) in January that an early March launch was expected.
The MGC aims for a March 10th launch for all licensed sportsbooks that can meet the necessary requirements. However, a Fanatics spokesperson has confirmed that the sportsbook will not be ready for this proposed launch date. Fanatics joins Betway, another entity licensed to operate in Massachusetts but has experienced a hold-up due to a recent acquisition.
Interestingly, while Fanatics opened its first retail location at FedEx Field in Maryland in January of 2023, the online sportsbook product for the successful sports brand has yet to debut in any state. Fanatics is licensed for online operation in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Ohio, yet has not launched in any of the three. Yet, Michael Rubin, Fanatics CEO, has stated that rapid expansion is anticipated and that the online sportsbook should be available in 15 to 20 states by the end of 2023.
Sportsbooks That Should Launch by March 10th
While those that have been anxiously awaiting the highly anticipated Fanatics platform may be disappointed by this news, fortunately, many operators are running ahead of schedule. They are likely to launch by March 10th, which means right in time for March Madness. Although betting on in-state college teams is not allowed in Massachusetts (although some retail sportsbooks have already violated this policy), large tournaments such as March Madness are excluded from this regulation.
Three retail sportsbooks in casinos (Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park) have been open since January 31st. Meanwhile, 11 online sportsbook operators have been approved for a launch on March 10th. These include six untethered operators and five that are connected to casinos.
Of course, Betway and Fanatics will not be among these to launch on time, leaving nine online operators likely to be active on March 10th. Bally Bet, Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Betr, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and WynnBET can realistically be expected to launch in the commonwealth by early March.
While not in discussion for March 10th, a fourth retail location at horse racing simulcast location Raynham Park operated by Caesars Sportsbook Massachusetts, should be open in 2023. It is also anticipated that fellow simulcasting facility Suffolk Downs will soon join the fray with a retail sports betting location. Multiple licenses available in Massachusetts have yet to be claimed, meaning more operators are likely to launch in the state before it is all said and done.