As the self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports, it was only a matter of time until ESPNgot into the sports bettingindustry. That happened on November 14, 2023, with the official launch ofESPN Bet. Through an agreement with PENN Entertainment, ESPN was able to take over the betting platform that was previously used by Barstool Sports. Of course, with so many other sportsbooks already operating, how is ESPN going to differentiate from the pack and win over users? Let’s take a closer look at what ESPN’s new sportsbook brings to the table and what fans can expect from ESPN Bet. At its launch, ESPN Bet became available in over a dozen states. Those states are Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. It’s possible that ESPN Bet will expand into other states thatallow legalized sports betting, but nothing is official yet and we advise you to keep track of all changes in this ESPN Bet review right here.
Upon signing up, new users to ESPN Bet will be eligible to receive $200 worth of bonus bets. These bonus bets will come in the form of four different $50 bonus bets. There is also the option of receiving a 100% deposit bonus of up to $1,000. With this offer, rather than getting $200 in bonus bets, new users can choose to receive 5% cash back on all of the bets they make for their initial deposit.
Like most sportsbooks, ESPN Bet will have ongoing promos beyond the welcome offer for new users. These promos will vary from one day to the next and depend on what sports leagues are in season at the time. They are likely to include friend referral bonuses, profit boosts, and parlay insurance, among other types of bonuses that other sportsbooks like to use.
To compete with more established sportsbooks, ESPN Bet knows that it will have to offer a wide range of betting markets. All of the major sports like baseball, football, basketball, and hockey are well covered. But ESPN Bet’s offerings go far beyond the major leagues and include sports like beach volleyball, boxing, cricket, cycling, golf, lacrosse, MMA, rugby union, table tennis, and volleyball. ESPN Bet also has soccer markets from all over the world and several esports, including CS: Go, DOTA2, and League of Legends.
At the same time, ESPN Bet is missing some elements of betting that might be found elsewhere. For instance, ESPN Bet doesn’t currently offer wagers on horse racing. ESPN is also lacking a Daily Fantasy Sports platform.
The initial assessment of ESPN Bet is that it will have odds that are competitive with other sportsbooks. Since ESPN is a little late to join the sports betting industry in most states, they should understand the importance of offering competitive odds. In fact, ESPN Bet is trying to go above and beyond in some areas by offering betting options that aren’t available at competing sportsbooks. For example, rather than only offering affirmative player props for a football player scoring a touchdown, ESPN Bet is giving bettors a yes/no option for whether a specific player will score a touchdown in a game.
Just like most sportsbooks, ESPN Bet offers users both a desktop and mobile platform to use. The desktop version tries to keep things as simple as possible with links to the home page, betting history, promotions, live betting, and a search bar. There is also a long list of sports available on the left side of the page, making it easy to locate a specific betting market. ESPN Bet also makes the bet slip easy to use, even for parlays, teasers, and more advanced types of bets.
The ESPN Bet mobile platform is similar despite trying to fit just as much onto a smaller screen. The main menu makes it easy to find boosts and featured bets, as well as promos and links to ESPN’s Responsible Gaming page. The main difference is that the bottom of the screen is where users will find links to live betting, betting history, and the search bar. While there are some differences in the design between the desktop and mobile platforms, everything that can be found can also be found at the other.
As a new sportsbook, it might take a little time for ESPN Bet to catch up with everything that other sportsbooks are doing. However, ESPN Bet is off to a strong start and has most of the basics covered. For instance, ESPN Bet offers early cash out on most wagers and has an extensive live betting market. As mentioned, they are distinguishing themselves with the yes/no option for touchdown player props.
However, one area where ESPN Bet still needs to catch up is with support. At the moment, the FAQ page isn’t as extensive as some other sportsbooks. Also, the live chat function is only available on the mobile app, not the desktop platform. Of course, these are not necessarily huge drawbacks that will prevent ESPN Bet from being competitive in the market. These are also shortcomings that should improve with time.