ESPN Implements Betting Policies for Staff Ahead of ESPN BET Launch

ESPN is preparing to launch ESPN BET, and as a result, the sports media giant has introduced strict guidelines to maintain the integrity of its brand and journalism. These rules, which were released internally on Nov. 10, are specifically directed at the network’s 5,000 employees, with a particular focus on “Insiders” and “Reporters” who cover sports betting.

The guidelines aim to prevent high-profile insiders such as Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski, who cover major leagues like the NFL and NBA, from participating in any form of betting on the leagues they report on. This initiative is part of a broader effort by ESPN to prevent the misuse of confidential information, such as player injuries and management insights, in betting activities.

The guidelines apply to all ESPN employees, including on-air talent, production staff, and journalists, whether they are working on-site or remotely. They also extend to executives who manage league-related business relationships, prohibiting them from betting on leagues or properties they are involved with. The company also strongly discourages any involvement in illegal betting activities.

In particular, ESPN has placed emphasis on certain types of bets, such as awards votes, player personnel decisions, and draft picks, to prevent employees with access to sensitive information from influencing or participating in these wagers.

These guidelines are in alignment with Disney’s Standards of Business Conduct and may be updated after the launch of ESPN BET. The network is actively promoting ESPN BET, highlighting its commitment to responsible sports betting led by anchor Scott Van Pelt.

ESPN’s strategic partnership with Penn Entertainment, announced in August, aims to transform Barstool Sportsbook into an exclusive sportsbook integrated into ESPN’s programming. With a $1.5 billion investment from Penn Entertainment, this collaboration marks ESPN’s entry into the growing sports gaming market, providing fans with an immersive sports betting experience.

While ESPN did not directly comment on the guidelines, it is evident that the network is determined to keep its journalism and sportsbook operations separate. The memo clearly states that no story should be influenced, delayed, or withheld to affect betting lines.