The highly anticipated launch of ESPN BET has arrived. The new Ohio sportsbook became available for download Nov. 14.
The launch, or rebrand in this case, comes thanks to the partnership between ESPN and PENN Entertainment. ESPN BET replaces Barstool Sportsbook in the Ohio sports betting market. Barstool customers had their account information automatically transferred over to ESPN BET.
PENN CEO Jay Snowden has set expectations high.
“We’re extremely proud to introduce ESPN BET and look forward to delivering an exceptional customer experience to fans across the US. Today’s launch is the culmination of months of hard work across both teams and we could not be more excited to roll out ESPN BET in partnership with ESPN. Penn’s operational excellence paired with ESPN’s unmatched brand and reach is a powerful combination that will drive this compelling new sportsbook.”
The new app is available in 17 states, including Ohio.
OCCC helps make transition from Barstool to ESPN easy for PENN
PENN’s transition from Barstool to ESPN BET Sportsbook Ohio did need approval from Ohio sports betting regulators. The Ohio Casino Control Commission didn’t make too much of a fuss about what the company was looking to do and seemed to make the transition an easy one in Ohio.
ESPN BET joins a highly competitive Ohio sports betting market. The new brand will compete with 23 other online sportsbooks in Ohio.
Jessica Franks, a spokesperson for the OCCC, told PlayOhio the commission and PENN had been in contact regarding the change and was able to ensure that the ESPN BET rebrand complies with Ohio’s sports betting laws.
“As the Penn Entertainment/ESPN BET deal involved branding rights only, there were no changes to Penn Sports Interactive’s existing licenses with the commission.”
PENN officials said the ESPN BET rebrand won’t change the site’s tech stack. Thus, the interface of the site and the app look the same under the Barstool brand. However, PENN made some obvious color scheme changes. Additionally, you can see Ohio sports betting promos promoted by ESPN personalities like Mike Greenberg.
ESPN BET is also giving users who already had a Barstool Sportsbook account a chance to earn a little extra cash. All they have to do is use their same login information and place a cash wager of any amount to get $200 in bonus bets. The bonuses will be available in four $50 increments and must be used within seven days of receiving them.
PENN’s retail Ohio sportsbooks also getting a makeover
PENN is going to be quite busy in the Buckeye State. The company owns and operates two separate Ohio casinos and two racinos. All four of them were home to a Barstool retail sportsbook:
- Hollywood Casino Columbus
- Hollywood Casino Toledo
- Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course
- Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway
All of the sportsbooks have had the Barstool branding removed from them. If you head to any of the websites, you can see they have all been renamed. However, they don’t yet have the ESPN BET branding.
Mackenzie Fork is the director of marketing at Hollywood Casino Toledo. She says they are still awaiting whether their venue will be given the green light to get the ESPN branding.
“We are still anxiously awaiting further direction for our sportsbook. All Barstool branding is now removed from the PENN Entertainment name. Until we have further direction, it is just called ‘The Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino Toledo.'”
Snowden previously hinted that there is a chance that some of PENN’s retail sportsbooks may not take on the new ESPN BET name. He did not mention the Ohio locations specifically. However, he did say PENN is working with ESPN to determine how the rebranding process for the retail sportsbooks will go.
So, Ohioans may need to wait a bit longer before placing an in-person bet at an ESPN BET sportsbook.