Fanatics Wins Shareholder Approval To Take Over PointsBet’s Illinois Sportsbook

Written By Dave Briggs on July 3, 2023 - Last Updated on July 5, 2023

It is looking increasingly likely that Fanatics will replace PointsBet as a sportsbook operator in Illinois. Late last week, 99.16% of voting PointsBet shareholders approved the $225 million purchase of its US business by Fanatics at a special meeting in Australia where PointBet is based.

The deal to become the newest Illinois sportsbook is subject to approval by the Illinois Gaming Board, is expected to close in 2024.

The deal does not include PointsBet’s Ontario sports betting operation, nor does it include PB’s Australian sportsbook.

The news came after DraftKings joined the fray and drove up the price of Fanatics’ acquisition of PointsBet by $75 million.

Fanatics calls PointBet purchase “pivotal”

Last week, Fanatics increased its original offer from $150 million to $225 million to acquire PointsBet US and jump into the Illinois sports betting market.

Sports betting giant DraftKings jumped into the mix about a month after Fanatics made its original offer. However, after Fanatics’ counter-punch, DraftKings Sportsbook essentially chose to drop its bid to buy PointsBet’s US business by failing to submit a binding offer.

If the deal goes through, it will give Fanatics access to 15 US states that PointsBet Sportsbook operates in, including Illinois.

In a press release, Fanatics called the acquisition a pivotal moment.

“We are thrilled that the shareholders of PointsBet Holdings Inc. voted to approve our acquisition of the U.S. businesses of PointsBet. We moved decisively to close the deal and we look forward to working with our friends at PointsBet Holdings Inc. to finalize the remaining acquisition details.

“This is a pivotal moment for Fanatics Betting and Gaming that will accelerate our growth in the legal online sports betting, advance deposit wagering and iGaming markets in the United States. Pending regulatory approvals in the various states in which PointsBet operates, we will have more details to share in the coming weeks on how the acquisition of PointsBet US businesses will bring to life our unique vision for Fanatics Betting and Gaming.”

Buying PointBet’s US business will instantly make Fanatics the fourth-biggest Illinois sportsbook operator in the country’s second-most lucrative sports betting market. As of this past April’s revenue report, PointsBet has taken in over $1.6 billion in lifetime sports bets in Illinois, generating over $124 million in revenue.

Circa Sportsbook will beat Fanatics to the Illinois sports betting market

Fanatics is looking to become one of the seven legal Illinois sports betting operators.

That number will expand to eight — likely before Fanatics’ purchase of PointsBet is approved and finalized.

The Circa Sportsbook is expected to launch in Illinois in August.

Circa will operate an online sportsbook in Illinois. It will also open a retail sportsbook at The Temporary by American Place Casino. The Full House Resorts property opened on Feb. 17 in Waukegan.

The Illinois Gaming Board approved Circa’s license at a board meeting on April 27, moving Circa from “applicant” to “licensed.”

Circa CEO Derek Stevens told PlayIllinois in January that Circa was ready to launch when The Temporary opened its doors. Except, that’s not allowed by the IGB.

“The casino has to open and then there’s a period of time where the casino is open before they have the ability to bring a sportsbook in,” Stevens said. “A sportsbook in Illinois must open at a later date than the casino.”

Photo by Jeff Chiu / AP Photo
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Dave Briggs

Dave Briggs is a managing editor and writer for Catena Media. His expertise is covering the gambling industry in North America with an emphasis on the casino, sports betting, horse racing and poker sectors. He is currently reporting on the gaming industries in Illinois and Canada.

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