Fanatics Sports Betting Ad Removed By Ohio Regulator, Condemned by Mass.

USA Legal Betting


  • Fanatics offered bet credits worth the value of a hat to its apparel shoppers
  • The ad could be seen by all site visitors, including children
  • Fanatics pulled the ad as it readies to launch in Massachusetts before June

Fanatics, fresh off acquiring PointsBet’s American assets, has run into problems in Massachusetts and Ohio due to its promotional campaigns targeting new sports bettors.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) sent a note to Fanatics ordering it to take down its offer that all visitors would receive bonus bets equal to their cart value whenever they purchased apparel on its merchandise site. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) warned that Fanatics must follow the same guidelines after its expected launch in MA.

Part of the Fanatics’ supposed innovation in the sports betting scene was its ability to package its offerings, whether that be apparel, trading cards, or online memorabilia, with sports betting. For now, it’s back to square one, as far as sports betting promotions.

Problems with the ad

The OCCC responded to a specific promotion on social media that promised all first-time Fanatics customers that purchased a baseball cap for $29.99 would be accredited with the same amount in their sports betting wallet. The ad could be seen on social media and on the company’s site by all visitors, including those that were underage.

OCCC Director of Communications, Jessica Franks, confirmed that the ad was being taken down. She also said that the campaign was in direct violation of two standards presented by the OCCC for sports betting agencies regarding promotional campaigns. She referenced Rule 3775-16-08 and Rule 3775-16-09, which deal with targeting individuals under 21 years and language that can and cannot be used during marketing efforts.

Fanatics’ sportsbook is live in Ohio and Tennessee. It received approval to launch in Massachusetts last week but has not yet done so, though it is expected to become operational before the end of May.

The MGC did not explicitly state what rules Fanatics’ Ohio promotion would have violated in Massachusetts but simply said that it must comply with the established standards. 

This is not the first time that a legal sports betting outfit has run into trouble with operators regarding promotions. However, Fanatics still has an opportunity to offer unique deals to customers because of its portfolio of other assets within the sports world. The key will be finding a promotion that does not violate the standards established by the OCCC or the MGC but can still leverage its catalog in memorabilia, trading, and other closely-aligned areas.

Future of Fanatics sports betting

Fanatics was primarily viewed as a retailer of sports apparel until it acquired trading card company Topps for $500 million last year. It also launched its first in-person sportsbook in January 2023 and expedited its online sports betting growth by purchasing PointsBet’s North American assets for $150 million earlier this month.

Fanatics Betting & Gaming CEO Matt King recently highlighted customer loyalty as the future of promotions in the sports betting industry. Several platforms have gotten a headstart on that by grouping their casino, online casino, and sportsbook accounts to help customers earn more loyalty points.

Fanatics, notably, does not have any in-person or online casino assets.

PointsBet was legal and live in 14 states at the time it made its sale to Fanatics. CEO Michael Rubin said that he hopes to get his company’s sportsbook to operational status in a majority of those states by the time the NFL season and NFL betting commence in September.

One place where Fanatics will be available is at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, home of the Washington Commanders. The two entities partnered to erect the NFL’s first in-stadium sportsbook, and a recent change in legislation now allows for it to be in operation on game day. 

Despite having a unique catalog, Fanatics faces a tough road to becoming a top provider of sports wagering in America. FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, and BetMGM have firm control of the market and have left many competitors, such as PointsBet, pondering their future amid growing concerns of unprofitability. 

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.