Fanatics Continues Push Into Ohio With Columbus Retail Sportsbook

Written By Mike Breen on July 26, 2023
Fanatics Sportsbook Ohio

Fanatics, in partnership with the Columbus Blue Jackets, has announced it will be opening a new retail sportsbook adjacent to the arena in which the NHL team plays.

Fanatics Sportsbook Columbus is slated to open in late August, just ahead of the start of the NFL season, when sports betting traditionally shifts back into overdrive after a summertime lull.

Fanatics Sportsbook Columbus is on track to be the 15th retail sportsbook location to open since Ohio sports betting launched statewide on Jan. 1 of this year.

Fanatics Sportsbook Columbus to open in Arena District

The Fanatics Sportsbook Ohio location will be in downtown Columbus’ popular entertainment destination the Arena District.

Fanatics Sportsbook Columbus is opening at 401 North Front St., just across from Nationwide Arena, which, along with Blue Jackets games, hosts a steady stream of high-profile concerts and other events.

“The Columbus Blue Jackets are constantly seeking new and exciting ways to engage with our fans,” Blue Jackets COO and senior vice president Cameron Scholvin said in a press release. “We believe this collaboration with Fanatics Betting and Gaming on a world-class sportsbook location just outside the doors of Nationwide Arena in the heart of the Arena District does just that.”

The Columbus Blue Jackets open the 2023-2024 season at Nationwide Arena on Oct. 12.

The 5,000-square-feet Fanatics Sportsbook Columbus space will feature 14 self-serve betting kiosks and four betting windows, as well as a large LED video wall and 20 TV monitors. There will also be a full-service restaurant operating at the location.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Blue Jackets to bring a world-class retail experience to the Arena District in downtown Columbus,” Fanatics CBO Ari Borod said. “The Jackets are one of the youngest teams in the league, and we are excited to leverage our partnership to grow with them and complement our online sports betting experience that is currently being beta-tested in Ohio.”

Columbus sportsbook expands Fanatics’ Ohio presence

As Borod mentions, Fanatics also operates its online sportsbook product in Ohio. Fanatics Sportsbook is one of 18 online sportsbooks available in the state.

Besides Ohio, Fanatics has also been beta-testing its online sportsbook product in Tennessee, Massachusetts and Maryland. Users in the four states were customers of Fanatics’ popular merchandise business and received invites to use the sportsbook app.

There is also a planned retail Fanatics Sportsbook location slated to open later this summer just outside of the Cleveland GuardiansProgressive Field. An exact date for the opening has yet to be announced.

PointsBet acquisition, more investment should help Fanatics compete in Ohio

Fanatics appears to be putting a lot of focus on Ohio early on in the life of its sportsbook business. It’s likely just the start of the company’s investment in Ohio, which is on track to be among at least the top four states in the U.S. in terms of annual betting volume.

Fanatics recently reached a deal to acquire PointsBet Sportsbook for $225 million. The deal will give Fanatics market access to 15 states, making it an immediate player in the U.S. sports betting market and putting the company in direct competition with several second-tier sportsbooks, the ones just beneath dominant market leaders FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook.

With the acquisition, Fanatics will add PointsBet’s Ohio revenue and market share. PointsBet Sportsbook’s market share in Ohio for May was 0.82%, good enough for ninth place among sportsbooks operating in the state.

With a limited user base, Fanatics Sportsbook had 0.24% of the state market share in May. Combined with PointsBet’s handle, Fanatics would have had a market share of 1.6%. That would have given Fanatics the eighth-highest handle in Ohio in May.

Once Fanatics opens up its online product to the general public, those numbers will grow higher. But that’s probably still not good enough for Fanatics, which will have to invest more if it hopes to compete with the likes of second-tier Ohio sportsbooks like Bet365 Sportsbook, BetMGM Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook and Barstool Sportsbook, which all had market share between 4.6% and 7.5% in May.

To fight for higher market share, Fanatics could take an approach similar to Bet365, which has spent millions on promotions in the state to attract new users and remain competitive. That high promo spend in the early months of sports betting in the state helped Bet365 become the third-best performing sportsbook in May in terms of handle and revenue.

Fanatics to be third retail sportsbook to open in Franklin County

Fanatics’ forthcoming Columbus sportsbook represents one of five retail sportsbook licenses granted in Franklin County, the max allotment of licenses allowed for Ohio’s most populous counties.

Fanatics Sportsbook Columbus will be just the third Franklin County retail sportsbook to open, though, joining Caesars Sportsbook at Scioto Downs and Barstool Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino Columbus.

The Columbus Crew partnered with Tipico for a retail sportsbook license, but plans for an actual location have yet to be announced. Muirfield Village Golf Club also has a retail sportsbook license in Franklin County but has yet to announce partner or location plans.

Fanatics’ partnerships in Ohio with the Guardians and Blue Jackets (which is also Fanatics’ market access partner for its online sportsbook) represent the company’s close ties with pro sports franchises, many of which have partnerships with Fanatics’ merchandising arm.

Fanatics’ entry into the sports betting business was a retail sportsbook in partnership with the Washington Commanders. Opened in January, the Fanatics Sportsbook at FedExField in Maryland was the first ever sportsbook to be located inside an NFL stadium.

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Mike Breen

Mike Breen covers Ohio’s budding sports betting industry for PlayOhio, focusing on online sportsbooks and the state’s responsible gambling initiatives. He has over two decades of experience covering sports, news, music, arts and culture in Ohio.

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