Fanatics to Open Ohio Retail Sportsbook Next to NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets Arena

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Aug 8, 2023 12:00 AM
Fanatics will open a new Ohio retail sportsbook by the end of August 2023.

Another retail location will soon be added to sports betting in Ohio.

Fanatics Sportsbook plans to open a brick-and-mortar operation at the end of August, just in time for betting on the 2023 NFL season. It will mark their first physical presence in The Buckeye State and will be the 14th Ohio retail sportsbook overall. 

The opening is particularly notable for a few reasons. First, it is yet further evidence that Fanatics is attempting to keep pace with the rapidly growing legal gambling market. Previously, they were focused on ranking among the best online sportsbook operators in the USA. It is becoming increasingly clear, though, that they want to establish their physical presence throughout the United States, as well.

On Ohio’s part, meanwhile, the licensing of another retail sportsbook reflects an ample commitment to expanding the legal wagering market. Sports betting debuted in the state earlier this year, which makes this the first NFL and college football seasons in which it’ll be live.

Clearly, given the timeline for this Fanatics Ohio retail sportsbook to open, the state is expecting massive amounts of business during the inaugural round of football betting. Do the returns from sports gambling so far justify that faith? 

Let’s explore every angle of this latest bit of Ohio sports betting news.

Fanatics Ohio Retail Sportsbook Marks Official Partnership with NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets

The opening of the Fanatics Sportsbook also signals the beginning of their relationship with the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL. They announced the agreement as part of the news about their latest sportsbook.

Promotions and special programs as well as specific branding opportunities are expected to punctuate the partnership between Fanatics Sportsbook and the Blue Jackets. The Ohio retail sportsbook will also be located on 401 N Front Street, right next to Nationwide Arena, which is where Columbus plays. 

To go along with the announcement, Fanatics provided the media with a breakdown of their retail sportsbook’s layout. Here are some of the glitziest details, courtesy of NBC 4 in Columbus:

“According to the release, the 5,000-square-foot sportsbook will have four betting windows along with multiple self-service kiosks, an LED video wall, more than a dozen TVs and a restaurant. It will be the first in-person sportsbook in downtown Columbus and the third in the city, joining the Barstool Sportsbook at the Hollywood Casino on the southwest side and the Caesars Sportsbook at Scioto Downs.

For the Blue Jackets, this partnership is a long time coming. Sports franchises are striking lucrative agreements with gambling operators left and right. NHL organizations have somewhat lagged in this department, but Ohio is considered one of the USA’s top-seven sports markets, so Columbus likely appeals to Fanatics more than it would to many other locations.

Fanatics Doubling Down on Sports Betting Venture

Generally speaking, the sports betting market in the United States has proven difficult, if not outright prohibitive, for less-than-Goliath-sized corporations. DraftKings and FanDuel effectively have a monopoly in the sports betting industry. Their closest competitors are still fairly distant yet also entrenched and most commonly include BetMGM Sportsbook and Caesars Sportsbook.

Recently, other gambling operators have tried cracking the clique. Fanatics Sportsbook is quickly becoming one of the more aggressive entrants. 

A subsidiary of Fanatics, Inc., which is a staple in the sports memorabilia business, Fanatics Sportsbook has upped their aggression over the past year. Currently, they are beta-testing their online sports betting services in Ohio and Tennessee, among two other states. Their Ohio retail sportsbook will be their second physical location in a major market. Earlier this year, Fanatics Sportsbook opened a location in partnership with the Washington Commanders of the NFL.

Whether this investment in both online and in-person sports betting pays off remains to be seen. Relative to the entire sports betting market, Fanatics represents an infinitesimal share. However, they have proven more successful than other sportsbooks attempting to make in the USA, such as PointsBet. Plus, their market share in the four states in which they operate has for the most part been on the gradual upswing.

Should Ohio Sports Betting Expect a Lucrative NFL Season?

Allowing retail-betting expansion fewer than one year into the launch of Ohio sports gambling could be construed as overaggressive. In the case of The Buckeye State, though, it’s just smart business.

Legal gambling has proven wildly successful thus far—so much so that Ohio lawmakers are already looking at increasing the sports betting tax rate for licensed operators. That’s another move many might deem premature. But again, in this case, it’s just smart business.

Through June 2023, Ohio has accepted over $3.8 billion in total sports bets. That’s a lofty figure considering they’ve yet to go through the meat and potatoes of the NFL season. Their January 1 sports betting launch hit just in time for betting on the NFL playoffs, but it missed the entire regular season. 

In all likelihood, The Buckeye State is looking at huge month-over-month increases to their sports betting business. Some of the opening bonus promotions from licensed operators have faded, but the start of college football and the NFL is a relative goldmine for sports gambling overall. It wouldn’t be surprising if August and September register as the busiest months of the calendar to this point.

Viewed through that lens, it absolutely makes sense to roll out another Ohio retail sportsbook. Most people continue to place wagers online, but broadening accessibility in markets with high demand seldom fails to pan out.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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