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ESPN BET App Is Live: Sign-up Bonuses Available For All Barstool Sportsbooks Customers

Bill Speros for Bookies.com

Bill Speros  | 7 mins

ESPN BET App Is Live: Sign-up Bonuses Available For All Barstool Sportsbooks Customers

The ESPN BET launched Tuesday at approximately 3:40 p.m. EST across 17 states. What bonuses and more offers can Barstool Sports bettors expect when they switch? We have the answers.

This represents the full-on entry of ESPN into the sports betting space. The sportsbooks are owned and operated by PENN Entertainment. PENN and ESPN have a 10-year, $2 billion partnership in place. The ESPN BET app replaces the Barstool Sportsbook, which has now ceased operations. 

The ESPN BET sign-up bonuses are be available for all Barstool Sportsbooks customers, as well as new ESPN BET customers.

The ESPN BET app promises a cleaner and simpler user experience than the version that carried the Barstool brand. The look after launch was similar but with a different color scheme. It quickly moved to the top of the most-downloaded free apps in Apple's App Store. 

ESPN VP of Sports Betting Mike Morrison and PENN CEO Jay Snowden discussed the launch of ESPN BET at the ESPN Edge Conference Thursday in New York. 

"This was the opportunity of a century," Snowden said. The deal happened quickly. Snowden first met with ESPN's Jimmy Pitaro in early 2023.

"It wasn't a case of what ESPN wanted to do, it was something ESPN had to do," Snowden said in regard to the initial conversation.  

Bookies.com has reported that PENN was ESPN's third choice when it came to looking for full-time betting partner. Both DraftKings and FanDuel passed when ESPN would not meet their price tag.

PENN will operate and hold the license for the ESPN BET book in the 17 states where has been approved to operate. PENN will pay ESPN $150 million per year over 10 years for the privilege of using its brand and reach. The deal has an out after three year and seven years. ESPN will be granted $500 million of warrants to purchase around 31.8 million common shares of PENN stock.

"We're in this space to win," Snowden said. "People ask if this is important to Disney. You'll see how much they care on Tuesday." 

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Customers Have To Make The First Move

ESPN BET App Is Live: Sign-up Bonuses Available For All Barstool Sportsbooks Customers 4

The switch from the Barstool Sportsbook app to the ESPN BET will not occur automatically for bettors. 

Current Barstool Sportsbook customers will be prompted to download the ESPN BET app once it is available. 

They will use their current Barstool login and password to get access to the Worldwide Leader’s official foray into the legal sports betting space. 

Once logged into ESPN BET, customers will see all their betting history, stored forms of payment, balances, and any live wagers pending. All existing Barstool Sportsbooks accounts will remain unchanged and automatically switch over to the ESPN BET app. 

PENN owns all the customer information and betting data currently available on the Barstool Sportsbook app. So the switch from their end is easy. 

As is the case with any massive change, brand switch, or change in technology, the change is bound to cause confusion with some. 

None of the technology used on the app subject to regulatory approval or regulation has changed. The changes will be on the front-facing end. The black and green color schemes used in the logo unveiled last month will be prevalent. 

ESPN BET All About The Brand 

ESPN BET App Is Live: Sign-up Bonuses Available For All Barstool Sportsbooks Customers 3

Once the technological metadata settles, how will ESPN BET stand out in the betting echo-system?

Morrison said ESPN BET has one thing that his competitors do not: ESPN. 

“How we're going to reference it, promote it, and integrate it under one brand, is really important. I think it serves the sports fans better to have a straightforward approach and a unified approach,” he told bookies.com in October during a Q and A about ESPN BET. “And being able to utilize the ESPN brand around ESPN BET is incredibly important. 

“We're the number one and most trusted brand in sports. There's, obviously, incredible connectivity with our fan base, and on our platforms. And being able to lean into the ESPN brand, under this new ESPN BET branding, we think was the only way to go here. And this hasn't been done in the market on the way we're planning to do it, with a unified brand in our platform, in conjunction with the sportsbook.”

ESPN switched its “Daily Wager” program over to “ESPN BET Live” on November 3. And ESPN personalities Scott Van Pelt and Elle Duncan have used in promotional spots for new app.

PENN attorney Chris Rogers told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on November 7 that ESPN is currently formulating a formal policy that would insulate its newsmakers and “insiders” from any association to ESPN BET during programming. 

He added that there will be no visible on-site signage promoting ESPN BET during any College Game Day show or any ESPN programming emanating from or near a college campus. 

Regulations in the Bay State say license-holders or their agents cannot “advise or encourage patrons to place a specific wager of any specific type, kind, subject, or amount.” There is an exception for specific promoted wagers. Similar rules apply in Ohio. 

Snowden said the user experience offered by the new app, which will follow in the footsteps of its Score app used in Ontario, Canada, and the breath of the ESPN brand will be the key elements allowing ESPN BET to be successful. 

His endgame is a situation when "You'll be in the media app, You populate your bet slip, and it moves into the ESPN BET app." 

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ESPN Issues Betting, News Rules To Employees

ESPN BET App Is Live: Sign-up Bonuses Available For All Barstool Sportsbooks Customers 1

ESPN issued formal guidelines to its employees in terms of their interaction with both news that could affect betting markets and the ESPB BET app itself. 

A memo circulated to employees said the company prohibits usage of “non-public information” and bars anyone employed by ESPN from providing inside information to others for betting purposes. 

Employees are also banned from betting "games or events (they) are assigned to work or cover." 

It bars "Talent designated as Reporters and Insiders are prohibited from placing, soliciting, or facilitating any bet on the properties (e.g., NFL, college football, NBA) they regularly cover."

Among other items covered in the memo: 

(To) uphold our journalistic integrity. No story should be reported, delayed, influenced, or withheld to impact betting lines. All employees must observe the strict boundaries that the Company maintains between our journalistic enterprise and the operations of a sportsbook and should not imply any control or influence over the operations of a sportsbook . . . 

Employees who manage the Company’s business relationships with sports leagues or properties on a day-to-day basis are prohibited from betting on those sports leagues or properties.

 

Competitors Ready For ESPN BET Push

ESPN BET App Is Live: Sign-up Bonuses Available For All Barstool Sportsbooks Customers 2

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins has been feeling his oats in the run-up to the ESPN BET launch. 

“We’ve seen multiple waves of competition. Last time we saw a huge wave of competition, we stayed disciplined. We didn’t increase our promotion rate and I don’t think we expect to do that this time,” he said during his company’s earning call last week. 

DraftKings is also planning its own new product launch next Tuesday, to go up against ESPN BET’s debut.

DraftKings has overtaken FanDuel in terms of being No. 1 in market share across the United States. The Boston-based book has seen its stock price rise more than 225% this year and nearly 30% since DraftKings' better-then-expected third-quarter revenue report. Revenue in that quarter increased 57% to $790 million. The book reported 2.3 million monthly unique payers in the third quarter, representing a 40% increase year over year.

But it will still lose money in 2023. 

When asked about the challenge posed by ESPN BET and the deep-pocketed Fanatics during the G2E Summit in October, FanDuel CEO Amy Howe cites something rare in this space: potential profitability this year. 

“At the end of the day, if your product doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter how great your brand is, you’ve got to have a phenomenal experience. But at the same time, one of the things that we’re seeing, which is not dissimilar to many e-commerce industries, is that you’ve got to have scale, right? And this year will be a very important inflection point for FanDuel, but I would argue for the industry.”

 

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About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.