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Fanatics In Talks To Acquire U.S. Sportsbook: Report

Discussions Come Amid Chairman's Sale Of NBA Franchise Stake

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The U.S. sports betting industry could see the entry of a new major player.

According to CNBC, the sports merchandise company Fanatics is in talks with the sportsbook Tipico. Fanatics has long been rumored to be in the market to acquire a sports betting company.

Terms of a potential deal were not reported. According to the report, Fanatics and Tipico are “currently at an impasse on price.”

The online sportbook is live in New Jersey and Colorado, two of more than 30 states with legal and regulated sports betting. Tipico is a very minor operator in an industry so far dominated by the likes of FanDuel and DraftKings.

The CNBC report comes on the heels of Fanatics chairman Michael Rubin announcing that he’s selling his minority stake in Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment, owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils. NBA rules prohibit team owners from being sports betting operators.

According to the report, Fanatics has a private valuation of $27 billion, which Rubin thinks could grow with sports betting. The developments come as ESPN reportedly is eyeing a sportsbook acquisition.

“As our Fanatics business has grown, so too have the obstacles I have to navigate to ensure our new businesses don’t conflict with my responsibilities as part-owner of the Sixers,” Rubin said in a statement. “With the launch of our trading cards and collectibles business earlier this year — which will have individual contracts with thousands of athletes globally — and a soon-to-launch sports betting operation, these new businesses will directly conflict with the ownership rules of sports leagues."

Since mid-2018, U.S. sports bettors have lost more than $9 billion, according to reports. Tipico also offers online casino gambling in New Jersey.