The Connecticut Lottery Corporation has named Fanatics Betting and Gaming (FBG), a subsidiary of Fanatics, as its new sports betting partner in Connecticut.

As part of the agreement, Fanatics Sportsbook will become the exclusive sports betting partner of the Connecticut Lottery, covering both mobile and retail betting. The transition is expected to take place in mid-December.

The Fanatics Sportsbook will be available at ten retail betting locations in Connecticut and on mobile devices.

Greg Smith, president and CEO of the Connecticut Lottery, said they expect to see an increase in market share as a result of the partnership.

“Fanatics is the only true sports brand in gaming and has established itself as an innovator in the industry,” said Smith.

“We were impressed with the Fanatics team and their aggressive entry into the U.S. sports betting market, and we are excited to see how they redefine the sports betting customer experience here in Connecticut.”

“CLC expects significant market share growth as a result of this partnership.”

How did we get here?

FBG will now replace Rush Street Interactive (RSI), the former sports betting partner of the Connecticut Lottery.

RSI and the Connecticut Lottery announced they were ending their partnership in March of this year, with RSI committing to operating sports betting in Connecticut until a replacement was found.

This is the latest state that FBG has acquired since PointsBet sold its US operations to the company earlier this year. Although the Connecticut Lottery partnership is separate, it represents a growing presence for Fanatics in the United States.

The deal for FBG to acquire PointsBet US for $150.0m (£118.7m/€138.3m) was originally agreed in May.

However, DraftKings quickly jumped into the ring and offered a much higher bid of $195.0 million. While PointsBet agreed to work with DraftKings on the proposal, FBG ultimately won the battle with a bid of $225.0 million.

After the deal closed, FBG began integrating its Fanatics Sportsbook where PointsBet US was previously located. FBG quickly launched its Fanatics Sportsbook in four states – Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio and Tennessee. This was the beginning of the takeover.

Weeks later, FBG entered eight more states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and later joined two other states. FBG completed the transfer of operations in Virginia and West Virginia last month.

Against heavy hitters

FBG is now in direct competition with DraftKings and FanDuel, two of the largest online operators in Connecticut – and the US industry. In Connecticut’s latest monthly results for October, DraftKings remained the state’s top online gaming operator, followed by FanDuel.

DraftKings is a partner with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe in Connecticut and FanDuel is a partner with Mohegan Sun.

It’s also worth noting that ESPN – whose ESPN Bet brand is operated by Penn Entertainment – is headquartered in the state. Last month, ESPN Bet launched in 17 states, but Connecticut was not included.

This is due to Connecticut’s tribal monopoly rules, meaning the Connecticut Lottery deal with FBG now prevents ESPN Bet from launching in ESPN’s home state.

In May 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed a bill legalizing online sports betting in the state.

This allowed the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribes to offer sports betting, with each tribe allowed to operate one sports betting skin and one igaming skin.

As part of the deal, the Connecticut Lottery was also allowed to offer a sports betting skin – as long as it took place outside of tribal lands – as well as retail betting at 15 locations across the state.

With FBG now officially in the third available spot, ESPN Bet will be excluded from launching in Connecticut, at least for now.