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Fanatics hires finance chief for sports betting division ahead of launch

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Andrea Ellis has been appointed CFO of Fanatics Betting & Gaming.

Source: Fanatics

Nearly five years after the Supreme Court overturned the rule that prevented states from legalizing betting on sports events, Fanatics is one step closer to launching its much-anticipated sports gambling chapter.

The sports platform and e-commerce company valued at more than $27 billion said Tuesday it has hired Andrea Ellis as chief financial officer of its betting and gaming division. Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin said last week that the company expects to launch the unit in January.

Fans enter a crowded market in an uncertain economy at a time some executives say is ripe for consolidation. Still, Rubin is betting that the company’s e-commerce success will translate into sports betting customers.

Ellis brings his expertise in technology, products and operations to the Fanatics management team. For the past two years he has worked as CFO at Lime, the largest electric scooter and bike sharing company. He previously worked with the Burger King owner. Restaurant Brands.

The company said it will be tasked with scaling the new division and providing strategic and operational leadership at Fanatics.

He will report to Matt King, CEO of Fanatics Betting and Gaming, who was previously CEO at FanDuel. “We are excited to welcome Andrea to our team as we step closer to officially launching a new, dynamic online sports betting and gaming product for fans,” King said.

A launch in January will coincide with the lucrative NFL playoffs. With the start of the football season next fall, Fanatics expects to be operational wherever it is legal to do business.

“We’ll be in every major state except New York, where you can’t make money,” Rubin said at the Sports Business Journal World Sports Congress event. Last fall, Fanatics applied for a mobile betting license in New York, but was not selected.

Rubin estimates that sports betting and Fanatics’ other business segments “could be $8 billion in profits even in the next decade.”

With more than 50 sports betting operators emerging in recent years, palpitationowned FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars and BetMGM (co-owned MGM Resorts and Entain)The fanatic is late to the party. The fight for market share is intense, and the first sportsbooks to license often say they’ve seen the first mover advantage.

FanDuel CEO Amy Howe told CNBC at the Global Gaming Expo this month that she thinks it’s only a matter of time before the industry is consolidated.

“The first two or three [operators] 60 will potentially go somewhere between 70% of the market,” he added.

DraftKings co-founder and CEO Jason Robins said size will matter.

“I think you’ll continue to see the benefits of having a scale like Amy’s. [Howe] “What the company does and mine is becoming more prominent as more states come out and more revenue comes in from the industry,” he told CNBC at the gaming industry conference.

Size and scale make Fanatics a tough competitor of the future, even in the eyes of current market leaders. Thanks in large part to its extensive business network and Fanatics’ database of 94 million customers, Rubin was able to raise another $1.5 billion in March with investments from Fidelity, BlackRock and Michael Dell.

According to Rubin, Fanatics plans to leverage its own network by using a loyalty program across all of its businesses: “Buying goods? Are you keen to play? Are you gambling? Have an eagerness to collect.”

“So our patience paid off,” Rubin said. “I’d rather everyone spend their brains and then have to make money, then I come up with a big checkbook and spend money when no one else can.”

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