Reel Lives: Fanatics Betting & Gaming’s Scot McClintic On Building Products, Quantitative Thinking, And Hockey Fights

Eric Raskin

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Every gambler has a story to tell. And so does every person who chooses to make a living in this unique industry.

In our “Reel Lives” series, Casino Reports shines a spotlight on people working in the gaming business, from executives, to analysts, to media members, and all points in between.

The subject in this interview: Scot McClintic, the chief product officer of Fanatics Betting & Gaming.

Casino Reports: What was your first job in the gambling industry, and how did it come about? 

Scot McClintic: I’ve been interested and intrigued by the collective sports betting, casino, and poker industry for years, since well before the repeal of PASPA. However, my entry into the space is somewhat random.

Despite my current background in product, I was originally an energy (renewable and power plant) finance guy focused on M&A. I was working for a company called NRG Energy, focusing on the acquisition and financing of energy assets. A small company called Comcast [editor’s note: this was delivered with sarcasm, just in case that wasn’t apparent] reached out to see if I would be interested in joining their new business ventures team, which focuses on launching new businesses that are adjacent and strategic to their core businesses. They had taken an interest in renewable energy — think residential solar — and thought I had the skills to be helpful.

That new business team was not confined to a single industry, but rather had an open remit to find new growth for the company in any industry that looked promising. So when sports betting and casino gaming looked like it would be legalized, our group was where the company looked for direction. And when the leader of that group, Jon Kaplowitz, asked who knew anything about sports betting, I raised my hand. From there, we as Comcast met with everyone and anyone, to learn as much as possible, and that’s where we met PENN Entertainment, the first true gaming company I joined. Prior to joining PENN, our rag-tag sports betting team launched the NBC Sports Predictor product, where we got our first taste of a digital product launch.

CR: What do you view as your signature accomplishment/achievement in this industry? Or put another way, what are you most proud of?

SM: I’m going to set aside the future accomplishments of Fanatics, given that I’ve never been more excited or optimistic about a product than I am with the one we are building at FBG. I’m most proud of building Barstool Sportsbook & Casino from scratch with an incredible team. Honestly, we didn’t really know what we were doing. Some of us had launched digital products before, and others had never launched anything, but the common denominator was a grind-it-out work ethic and a passion for what we were building.

A lot of what the industry takes for granted today, we were inventing and making decisions around at the time. For example, the traveling wallet, account history, and bet history — that started with a prompt between myself and our product and engineering team asking ourselves what it would take for a customer on an Amtrak from Boston to D.C. to not feel any difference in their betting experience — it just needed to work, and feel seamless. I look back and ask myself if it was luck or skill, and I think the truth is that it was both plus plenty of amazing talented people around me that I will never take for granted.

CR: What’s the number-one challenge, in your view, for the industry going forward? 

SM: Responsible gaming, full stop. Like any other entertainment category — literally any entertainment category — it needs to be enjoyed responsibly. This means offering a fun experience and being proactive in identifying responsible gaming risks.

CR: If you told the 18-year-old version of yourself what you’re doing now professionally, how surprised/unsurprised would that younger version be?

SM: I would be entirely unsurprised, but happy. I’ve been a competitive athlete most of my life, and I’m also quantitatively minded. So the opportunity to combine sports with competition and quantitative analytics makes for a fulfilling job in sports betting and iGaming!

CR: You were a competitive ice hockey player through college. What was your greatest moment on the ice?

SM: Two answers. First one is when I was checked from behind by a University of Virginia player and my teammate (one of my closest friends to this day) leveled that same player and got in a fight on my behalf. You know who your real friends are when you are most vulnerable and who sticks up for you with no questions asked.

Secondly, when I got a professional tryout and draft offers from minor league teams here in the U.S. and in Europe. It was validating after years of working so hard. And no, I took none of them, opting for a corporate job I was offered out of school — at which I met some of the people I work with today at Fanatics. Life works in mysterious ways, and the world is small.

CR: When you tell people in your everyday life that you work for Fanatics, what percentage at this point are surprised to learn it’s more than just a sports apparel company?

SM: None. Everyone knows what we are trying to do — which is revolutionizing the sports experience for fans. When you are chasing a revolution, you can’t be subtle and you need to spread the word. As a Philadelphian, I’m proud to continue the revolution in a far different subject matter!

Lightning round!

If you find me in a casino, the game/bet I’m most likely to be playing/making is …

Blackjack.

My favorite sports team is …

Phillies.

You have a 12 and the dealer is showing a 2. Stand or hit?

I hate it, but I will hit — the book says so, and all that.

The worst job I ever had was …

Overnight shift at Wawa in college.

First word or phrase that comes to mind when you hear “cannibalization debate” …

False tradeoff. I believe in incrementalism if you have data and intelligent systems. The data says the cannibalization is not net-net true.

My favorite non-gambling thing to do in Vegas is …

Running in Red Rock Canyon.

You can find Scot on X and LinkedIn, and wherever you find him, he’ll expect you to have his back if you see him take a check from behind.

Previous installments of Reel Lives:

OpenBet’s Jess Feil On Player Protection, Running An International Team, And Riding Horses

SBC’s Sue Schneider On The Interactive Gaming Council, Mentoring, And The Mississippi River

Maine GCB Chair Steven Silver On Rulemaking, Consumers, And Pickleball

BetMGM’s Katie Kohler On Public Relations, Responsible Gambling, And Climbing The Career Jungle Gym

Advantage Media’s John Mehaffey On The Absolute Poker Scandal, Comedy Clubs, And Setting A Casino Record