Fanatics May Buy Tipico to Further Its Online Sportsbook, Casino Plans

Fanatics is reportedly ready to buy Tipico. If the sports apparel etailer does buy the online casino and sportsbook operator, it will be the e-commerce brand’s entrance into the online gambling world.

Fittingly, Fanatics will be learning in New Jersey. Because of the sheer size of the Garden State’s iGaming marketplace, it’s where operators come to test their skills.

Although at the moment, Fanatics’ possible Tipico acquisition is just a rumor CNBC reported on Thursday. A similar rumor swirled in January, but it was about Fanatics buying WynnBet. That didn’t happen.

Fanatics May Buy Tipico

This Tipico rumor does seem more likely to become reality than the one about WynnBet. Because on Wednesday, Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin tweeted a statement about why he was stepping down from a sports team ownership.

It’s a conflict of interest to influence a sports team while influencing sports betting, he explained.

Rubin’s tweet about selling his stake in the Philadelphia 76ers NBA team began:

Thank you, @sixers fans ❤️

Then, Rubin went into a two-page explanation of his choice.

The letter attached to the tweet said, in part:

As our Fanatics business has grown, so too have the obstacles I have to navigate to ensure our new businesses don’t conflict with my responsibilities as part-owner of the Sixers. With the launch of our trading cards and collectibles business earlier this year – which will have individual contracts with thousands of athletes globally – and a soon-to-launch sports betting operation, these new businesses will directly conflict with the ownership rules of sports leagues.

So Sixers ownership isn’t a conflict of interest for Rubin or Fanatics if neither owns an online gambling operator. Hence, the CNBC report may be true.

That raises the question: Will sports bettors see bonuses for their team jerseys?

What’s ‘Tipico’?

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Fanatics is a household name. Valued at $27 billion, most Americans have at least seen an ad for the sports clothing and gear it sells.

Conversely, Malta-based Tipico is a lesser-known online gambling operator that’s accepting bets in two states. Outside of New Jersey and Colorado, chances are US residents don’t know the name.

In New Jersey, Tipico Casino and Tipico Sportsbook are on the retail casino license of Ocean Casino and Resort in Atlantic City.

The Colorado Department of Revenue (CDR) lists Tipico Sportsbook as one of 24 licensed online sports betting operators. There, Tipico partners for its license with what the CDR calls Century Casino Tollgate, but has the trade name of Century Casino Central City. 

Meanwhile, Tipico’s site and Twitter account tell sports bettors to expect online sportsbooks soon in:

  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Ohio

That would be a decent start for an operator likely planning to expand.

Plus, Tipico may cost Fanatics less than WynnBet’s rumored $500 million price tag in January.

Although for that price, Fanatics would’ve had nine launched states in which WynnBet is live.

BetFanatics Casino and Sportsbook

The name “Tipico” may not live long if Fanatics buys the operator. It doesn’t take much guessing to figure out how Tipico may be rebranded.

On May 17, Fanatics filed for the BetFanatics name relating to operating online casinos and sportsbooks.

On May 23, District of Columbia trademark attorney Josh Gerben tweeted a summary of the filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The founder of the Gerben Intellectual Property law firm attached a graphic to his tweet.

Fanatics May Buy Tipico
Photo Credit: Gerben Intellectual Property

Could Fanatics End Up Being One-Stop Shopping for Sports Fans?

Fanatics sees itself as a one-stop shop for a lot of sports fan needs.

The Fanatics gambling arm appears to be no different:

Fanatics Betting and Gaming has an industry edge combining one of the best global databases of diehard and casual sports fans, proven creative marketing and social strategies, cutting-edge technology, and Fanatics’ global brand recognition.

Along those lines, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming (MLG) Commission approved Fanatics for a retail sports betting operator license on Thursday.

CNBC speculated in April that Fanatics may seek an IPO next year and its leaders want the company to be valued at $100 billion within a decade.

Matt King, the CEO of Fanatics Betting and Gaming, is familiar with being linked to rumored IPOs.

King resigned as CEO of FanDuel last year in order to take the Fanatics leadership role.

At that time, Dublin-based Flutter Entertainment was expected to spin off FanDuel for an IPO. FanDuel has the No. 1 market share in US online sports betting.

There’s been no FanDuel IPO yet; perhaps for other reasons than King’s departure. Flutter is still negotiating a legal dispute with its media partner, Fox, over the possible FanDuel IPO.

Diversification May Be Smart

Fanatics looking into both mobile and retail gambling options may be smart. Retail casinos often face issues that online gambling operators don’t.

For instance, on Friday, members of the Unite Here Local 54 union may strike against four retail casinos:

  • Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa
  • Caesars Atlantic City Resort and Casino
  • Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City
  • Tropicana Atlantic City

If union negotiators can’t reach an agreement with the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City on July 3, that casino may be affected by a work stoppage.

The online casinos and sportsbooks partnered with those casinos won’t stop operating, though.

Those include:

Tipico is partnered with Ocean, which has an agreement in place with the union. Ocean isn’t at risk of being picketed.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is the lead writer at NJ Gambling Sites, concentrating on online casino coverage. In March 2021, Fletcher began writing about online casino gambling as the lead writer for Online Poker Report. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from The Ohio State University, as well as a master's degree in journalism from New York University, and has now shifted to NJ Gambling Sites to lend her expertise.