In the upcoming week, the United States is set to witness the launch of ESPN BET, a significant step for ESPN into the legal sports betting arena. This move is informed by insights gained from their experience in Canada.
ESPN is not just venturing into sports betting. With this launch, the company also implements stringent rules to maintain its journalistic integrity. Newly established guidelines, revealed last Friday, prohibit ESPN employees from betting on events they cover, ensuring both public trust and regulatory compliance.
These guidelines are a cornerstone of ESPN’s partnership with PENN Entertainment Inc, a prominent casino and gaming operator. This collaboration aims to create an ESPN-themed online sportsbook, an idea inspired by PENN’s prior acquisition.
In 2021, PENN acquired Score Media and Gaming Inc., a Canadian company with a sports media app and an emerging online sportsbook. Initially, theScore was limited in its betting operations, especially in Toronto. However, by 2022, theScore had successfully integrated its media app and sportsbook in Ontario, offering users the ability to check scores and place bets simultaneously. PENN intends to replicate this successful model in the U.S. with ESPN BET.
The partnership was a focal point at the third annual ESPN Edge Conference in New York, where PENN CEO Jay Snowden and ESPN’s vice president of sports betting and fantasy, Mike Morrison, discussed the future of ESPN BET.
Under this partnership, PENN will manage ESPN BET, while ESPN will promote the sportsbook across its digital and TV platforms. The platform will feature official ESPN BET odds and personalities, including a rebranded Daily Wager show, now ESPN BET Live.
The integration aims for a seamless betting experience within ESPN’s app, allowing users to create bet slips while engaging with sports content. Morrison and Snowden emphasized their commitment to making ESPN BET a significant player in the U.S. sports betting market, challenging the dominance of DraftKings and FanDuel.
With plans to launch in 17 states on November 14, pending final approvals, ESPN BET is poised to redefine the U.S. legal sports betting landscape, encapsulated in its new tagline “WHAT A PLAY.”
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