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Jay-Z Joins New York Sports Gambling Bid Alongside Fanatics

The rapper and founder of entertainment company Roc Nation has joined sports-merchandise giant Fanatics Inc. in a bid to get into the mobile sports betting business in New York as the state opens its market, according to documents released by the New York State Gaming Association.

He’ll also be part of Fanatics Betting & Gaming’s new board of directors, serving as vice chairman.

In its application for a license, Fanatics, a leading sports apparel retailer, cited a strategic partnership with Roc Nation, the global entertainment organization founded by Jay-Z, as a market advantage in addition to its established database of fans.

“Fanatics Sportsbook will use one of the largest sports fan databases in North America and proven sports betting platform and player account management technology to operate sports wagering in New York,” the company wrote in its application.

Sports betting is a high priority for Fanatics, which is undergoing a reorganization under Michael Rubin, the founder and executive chairman now taking over as chief executive. He’s looking to expand beyond the core business of selling sports apparel and collectibles and has brought on executives to spearhead entry into new industries such as gambling, ticketing and media.

The New York Gaming Commission will select a minimum of two platform providers to provide the necessary technology for the online sports betting program and four forward facing platform operators to serve as the “skins” for customers.

Online sports betting is expected to begin sometime in late 2021 and be at full-capacity by the 2022 Super Bowl.

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