Beginning November 14, ESPN Bet officially launches in Illinois with partner Penn Entertainment.
The new ESPN Bet app will now be available to online sports bettors in 17 jurisdictions where Barstool currently operates, including Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Illinois sports bettors with existing Barstool sports betting accounts will be prompted on Tuesday, November 14, to download the new ESPN Bet Illinois app, where you can sign up for the new app and maybe win a chance to visit the ESPN Headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.
ESPN Bet plans to offer a wide range of betting options on all major US and international sporting events, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and college sports. Bettors can also place bets on live in-game events, futures, and whatever else they offer, just like they did at Barstool Sportsbook.
In addition to its sportsbook, ESPN Bet will also offer a variety of other features, such as:
- A daily betting show hosted by ESPN personalities
- Exclusive odds and insights from ESPN analysts
- A variety of promotions and bonuses for new and existing customers
What Changes Can Illinois Sports Bettors Expect from ESPN Bet?
Penn Entertainment will manage ESPN Bet just as they did with Barstool. This company claimed a 3.7% market share in one of the world’s most robust sports betting companies and hasn’t changed its business model or the practice of limiting or banning winning bettors.
If you were limited before the rebrand, then you’ll likely be limited at ESPN Bet.
The biggest change from the rebrand will be how ESPN will likely present its programming. The “mothership” is not a sports betting company, and while many at ESPN are presented as betting experts, these folks refuse to be tracked by independent auditors such as Betstamp, and that’s not a good thing.
That hasn’t stopped ESPN and their communication majors, models, actresses, and former athletes from giving out betting advice before their partnership with PENN, and if anything, they’ll ramp that up.
It’s also safe to say ESPN Bet will promote the daylights out of what pro gamblers refer to as sucker markets, like Same Game Parlays. We know this because they stated their intention of doing so to reporters this past week.
Same-game parlay now a "gating" issue in the sports-betting biz, Snowden says. You've got to have it to compete.
— Geoff Zochodne (@GeoffZochodne) November 9, 2023
What Does This Mean for Illinois Sports Bettors?
For brand-new users, ESPN Bet could be a good thing. They’ll likely offer far more Illinois sportsbook bonuses and odds boosts with ESPN celebrities promoting the brand to a wider audience than Barstool hoped to reach.
ESPN Bet may not be as quick to limit or ban winning bettors as they formerly were under the Barstool brand. The last thing ESPN wants is bad publicity, and with this new brand being under the proverbial microscope and social media being what it is, it could end up being a good thing.
Finally, ESPN Bet is a rebrand and not a new betting company. We should expect to see what we got from Barstool from ESPN Bet. The only difference is Penn Entertainment replaced one media company with a niche audience and replaced it with the largest sports information platform in the world.