Fanatics Replaces PointsBet in Iowa

Gamblers Daily Digest -

Fanatics Betting and Gaming (FBG) has solidified its presence in the Iowa sports betting market by officially launching its online and retail sportsbook operations, replacing PointsBet, which it acquired late last year.

The transition comes as FBG, which obtained approval for sports betting in Massachusetts last year, continues absorbing PointsBet’s business across the United States as part of their merger agreement finalized in August 2023.

Fanatics takes over PointsBet’s Iowa sportsbook operations

Online sports merchandise retailer Fanatics has completed its acquisition of PointsBet’s sports betting operations in Iowa. As part of the deal, Fanatics will take over PointsBet’s retail sportsbook locations in the state as well as its mobile sports betting app.

This transition comes a few years after PointsBet launched sports betting in Iowa in early 2021. The company had partnered with Catfish Bend Casino to open a retail sportsbook at the casino’s locations in Burlington and Waterloo, as well as launch a mobile app for Iowa residents to bet on sports online.

Iowa residents can now access FBG’s sports betting products through the Fanatics Sportsbook mobile app, which is available for download on iOS and Android. 

Existing PointsBet customers in the state have also seen their accounts automatically migrated to the Fanatics platform, with usernames, passwords, balances, and loyalty rewards seamlessly transferred. This ensures a smooth transition for bettors without disrupting their sports betting experience.

The retail sportsbook location formerly operated by PointsBet under its agreement with Catfish Bend Casino has also been converted to the Fanatics Sportsbook. The property is undergoing renovations, which include installing new self-service betting kiosks from gaming technology provider Suzohapp. 

Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approves transfer

Now, Fanatics will assume control of those retail and mobile operations. The company won market access rights to Iowa as part of its acquisition of PointsBet USA last October.

The transfer of PointsBet’s Iowa license over to Fanatics Betting & Gaming was approved by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission earlier this month. The regulator signed off on Fanatics taking over the day-to-day sports betting operations under the existing license.

Fanatics reportedly paid $27 million for PointsBet’s Iowa license. As part of the transition, PointsBet confirmed that all existing accounts, funds, and bonuses for Iowa customers would carry over to Fanatics. 

There would be no interruption for users during the changeover process. Fanatics also agreed to honor all bonuses credited to customer accounts by PointsBet. That includes free bet tokens and other promotional offers.

The launch is another milestone for Fanatics’ expansion

Iowa represents the twelfth jurisdiction where Fanatics’ sportsbook is available, demonstrating the company’s nationwide expansion since the PointsBet acquisition. They plan to eventually rebrand sports betting operations in all states under the Fanatics banner as the integration process continues in the months ahead.

Gaining access to Iowa is another key milestone for Fanatics as it gradually rolls out its sports betting operations state-by-state. The company already runs online sportsbooks in Virginia, Maryland, and Louisiana. 

Fanatics Sports also partners with a retail casino in Arkansas for in-person wagering. Iowa now expands Fanatics’ footprint in the Midwest. Off the back of hiring more lawyers, the company has cited the region as one of its key targets for early state launches.

Kansas is also expected to be one of the next states on the Fanatics sportsbook roadmap. Kansas regulators have already approved a management services provider license for Fanatics. With Kansas set to launch legal wagering in early March, Fanatics could have its mobile app in the state soon.

Booty: Focus is on long-term rather than quick expansion

Fanatics Betting & Gaming CEO Matt Booty said the company focuses more on evaluating markets deliberately and partnerships that will allow for efficient customer acquisition rather than rushing into new states. He indicated that Fanatics wants to make decisions that allow for sustainable long-term growth.

Booty said Fanatics is focused on long-term sustainability rather than rushing to launch quickly in many states. So, while Fanatics may not have the largest market presence yet compared to some competitors, such as FanDuel, BetMGM, and DraftKings, its disciplined strategy centered around its fan base could pay off over time as it continues expanding across the country.

With its database of more than 80 million sports fans from its e-commerce business, Fanatics has significant cross-sell potential into sports betting. The company will likely incorporate AI-powered prediction markets to tailor customer experiences.

Iowa is a promising market for sportsbooks

The transition in Iowa comes as the state’s sports betting market continues growing. Recent reports from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission show a record $282.7 million was wagered on sports in December alone, reflecting an increasing appetite for legal sports betting among residents.

Iowa is shaping up as a promising market for Fanatics to gain a foothold in the sports betting space. The state has nurtured a thriving, competitive market among a dozen different sportsbook brands.

Those operators combined to generate nearly $400 million in sports betting handle through the first 11 months of 2023. Gross revenue topped $50 million over that span.

Both those figures put Iowa on pace for a record year in 2023. Last year, Iowa collected over $420 million in wagers, yielding $64.7 million in revenue.

With a strong history of supporting gambling expansion measures, Iowa officials take a relatively open stance on sports betting regulation. Taxes on sports wagering revenue are also favorable at 6.75%.

New Iowa licensees also benefit from a head start in building their customer bases. The state has no restrictions on promotional offers and bonuses that sportsbooks can provide.

Wrapping Up

The arrival of Fanatics Sportsbook in Iowa marks a new chapter for the state’s sports betting industry. While the transition seems smooth for existing PointsBet users, the long-term impact on the market remains to be seen. Only time will tell if Fanatics’ ambitious plans and distinct approach can capture the hearts and wagers of Hawkeye State bettors, but one thing is certain: the competition is heating up, potentially leading to a more exciting and rewarding experience for sports fans in Iowa.

Author: Bryan Cook