After only a few months in the sports betting market, a new player is set to make its official debut in Ohio on Tuesday. ESPN Bet, a sports-betting app that will replace the Barstool Sportsbook, is expected to launch Tuesday afternoon. Penn Entertainment, the owner of the app and sports-betting business, is assuring customers of a seamless transition when they download the new ESPN Bet app.
Existing customers of the Barstool Sportsbook app will need to download ESPN Bet as a separate app, with all their account information and winnings transitioning into the new app. According to Penn Entertainment, ESPN Bet will go live simultaneously in 17 states, including Ohio and neighboring states.
Despite the change, ESPN Bet will face tough competition in Ohio’s sports betting market. FanDuel and DraftKings continue to dominate the market, with other apps such as BetMGM, Bet365, and Caesar’s Sportsbook also showing significant user engagement. Chris Grove, a gambling industry expert, expressed doubt that ESPN Bet could reach the same level of market share as FanDuel or DraftKings.
As ESPN Bet makes its debut, ESPN is expected to heavily integrate the app across its network, including the ESPN Fantasy Sports app. The media giant plans to use official odds provided by ESPN Bet across its content.
The rebranding of Penn Entertainment’s app will not have any regulatory implications in Ohio, as the ownership is not changing. While the app’s name will change, it’s unclear what branding will be used for Penn Entertainment’s in-person sportsbooks in Ohio.
Penn Entertainment also recently sold the Barstool Sports media company back to its founder, Dave Portnoy, as part of a branding deal with ESPN that will cost $1.5 billion over 10 years. Meanwhile, ESPN Bet launched an aggressive advertising campaign across its network.
In light of the changes, fans of sports-betting in Ohio will soon experience a new app with ESPN Bet, poised to make an impact in the state’s entertainment industry.