DraftKings, BetFanatics on Their Way to Launching in Massachusetts

Written By Matthew Bain on January 12, 2023Last Updated on February 27, 2023
Fanatics, DraftKings cleared for Massachusetts online sportsbooks

Add two more companies to the list of future Massachusetts online sportsbooks.

DraftKings and Fanatics both received green lights from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Fanatics received a Category 2 tethered online license connected to Plainridge Park Casino. The MGC will conduct a final vote on DraftKings, as well as the other untethered Category 3 license applicants, on Jan. 18.

There was never any doubt DraftKings Massachusetts would get a license. DraftKings currently has more than 1,300 employees in Massachusetts. It’s as much of a locally grown sportsbook as you can be. That resonated with MGC members.

“We remain headquartered in Boston, we’re still a founder-led company, and all three of us live in Massachusetts,” DraftKings CEO Jason Robins told commissioners Wednesday. “We have more employees in Massachusetts than any other location.”

BetFanatics Massachusetts Will Launch

The following day, Fanatics got its stamp of approval from the MGC. A sports clothes and apparel titan entering the sports betting industry, Fanatics will launch where it acquires licenses as BetFanatics Sportsbook.

The road to a BetFanatics Massachusetts license wasn’t easy. Hearings on Fanatics began Jan. 4. MGC commissioners expressed concerns about Fanatics advertising the gambling side of its business to its clothing and apparel customers — particularly any potential underage bettors.

LOOKING AHEAD: Best Massachusetts Sports Betting Welcome Bonuses

In response, Alex Smith, the Fanatics vice president of regulatory affairs, told commissioners customers will have an option to opt-out of any sports betting-related advertising.

BetFanatics is currently licensed in Ohio and Maryland, but it hasn’t yet launched in either of those states. The online sports betting app plans to take its first wagers in 2023, but an exact date hasn’t been released. During the MGC hearing, Fanatics Betting and Gaming CEO Matt King said they plan to have BetFanatics live in all legal US markets by September 2023.

We do, however, know that Amelco will power the online sportsbook platform for BetFanatics. Amelco powers other national sportsbook brands FOX Bet, WynnBET, and PlayUP. It also provided the coding for Fubo Gaming before that shut down.

Who Has the MGC Approved for Licenses?

So far, the MGC has approved retail sportsbook licenses for MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor, and Plainridge Park Casino. It has also approved tethered online sportsbook licenses for Caesars Sportsbook, WynnBET, Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, and now BetFanatics.

In addition, the MGC has given initial approval for untethered online sportsbook licenses to DraftKings, FanDuel, Bally Bet, and Betr. Hearings for Betway and PointsBet will take place Jan. 13 and Jan. 17, respectively.

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Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain started as Content Manager at Play MA in 2022. Before that, he spent six years as a sports reporter and then deputy sports editor for the Des Moines Register, during which time he won nine statewide journalism awards, including the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalists Award. As deputy sports editor, Matthew oversaw the Register’s recruiting coverage while also innovating the outlet’s high school sports coverage. Matthew graduated from San Diego State and grew up in California, but he’s somehow a Boston Celtics fan. Long story. Matthew also led coverage of Prop 26 vs. Prop 27 in the California sports betting election battle for Catena Media.

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