Just days after Jay-Z and Roc Nation took part in a $325 million investment in the Fanatics sports e-commerce platform, the rapper, along with Fanatics owner and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin have applied for a New York gaming license to form Fanatics Sportsbook. The news was first reported by TMZ and ESPN and confirmed by Variety. A rep for Roc Nation had no comment.
Fanatics, which was recently valued at $18 billion, holds partnerships with most major sports leagues in the U.S. as well as multiple apparel companies. Much of that valuation is based on the company’s expected move into the sports gaming world, which is where Jay comes in. Sources tell TMZ that Jay and Rubin have been teamed up with Kambi, which builds software for sports gaming operators.
TMZ says the New York Gaming Commission will approve at least two of the six groups that have applied, with Jay being the only black owner and New Yorker in that group. A decision is expected by December.
It also reports that Fanatics Sportsbook will be based in New York City and will have a diverse staff. Jay previously held gaming licenses in Nevada and New Jersey connected to his popular 40/40 Clubs, two of which were based in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, although those operations were closed several years ago.
Jay and Rubin have a long friendship, and the two of them were among rapper Meek Mill’s most vocal supporters when Mill was jailed on questionable charges in 2017. Upon Mill’s release, Rubin hired a helicopter to carry the rapper straight from prison to the Spectrum in Philadelphia for court-side seats at a Sixers game.