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What Does ESPN BET Launch Mean For Penn Casinos?

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com

Mark Strotman  | 3 mins

What Does ESPN BET Launch Mean For Penn Casinos?

When Penn Entertainment partnered with Barstool Sports in 2020, it created an omnichannel brand that revolved around Barstool Sportsbook—which eventually launched in 15 different states. That included a host of online sportsbooks, a significant social media presence, and several different retail casinos that spent millions on Barstool Sportsbook branding.

Given Penn Entertainment’s announcement some three years later to form a joint partnership with ESPN to create ESPN BET, the newest online sportsbook in an incredibly competitive landscape. 

Both are working diligently to create the rebrand—with ESPN BET expected to launch sometime in late November—but one aspect that seems to have flown under the radar is what will happen to those ESPN casinos.

📅 Launch DateNovember 2023
🖊️ ESPN Bet Promo CodeComing Soon!
🎁 ESPN Bet Promo Offer$1,000 Deposit Match (Expected)
📲 ESPN Bet AppiOS; Android
Legal StatesAZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MA, NJ, MD, MI, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV

Will Barstool Retail Locations Be Rebranded As ESPN BET?

Penn Entertainment’s website lists 43 different casinos and racetracks and racetracks throughout North America (featuring 44,000+ gaming machines and 7,800+ hotel rooms for those keeping score at home), and many of those have Barstool Sportsbook branding attached to them—and a handful were created following the joint venture between Penn and Barstool. 

While all Barstool Sportsbook branding will be stripped from those physical locations, it’s still unknown whether ESPN and Penn will rebrand them as ESPN BET. 

The main focus to this point has been on getting the online sportsbook up and running for the heart of the fall sports season, though it’s logical to think an eventual rebrand of those physical locations will come sooner rather than later.

It's important to remember that ESPN used to own and operate nine ESPN Zone locations. The bar and restaurants featured multiple TVs and arcade games for all types of sports fans, though they closed all nine locations by 2013.

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There’s a stark difference between physical locations showing games and having casinos with ESPN branding that allow bettors to place wagers—but there is history with ESPN branding in physical locations. 

Though Penn Entertainment will rebrand as Hollywood Casino in the meantime, there’s always the potential that some form of ESPN Zone blossoms as part of a physical casino location.

Even though many will have gut reactions to ESPN BET’s launch— The  ESPN BET logo has already been revealed and plans to announce more at the upcoming ESPN Edge—it’s important to remember this is a long-term investment. Even if Penn and ESPN haven’t figured out the fate of its retail locations across the country just yet, there’s plenty of time for that issue to resolve itself with rousing success.

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About the Author

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com
Mark Strotman
Mark is a veteran sports betting journalist who has covered the Bulls and the NBA since 2012. His work has appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune and Yahoo Sports. He regularly provides NBA betting picks, as well as in-depth sportsbook reviews and the latest promo codes for all the major sports gambling operators, including Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and more.