PENN Entertainment, Inc. successfully launched its new rebranded ESPN BET sportsbook in Virginia on Tuesday, along with 16 other states. The new sportsbook, a partnership between PENN and ESPN, is available for mobile wagering on iOS, Android phones and desktops.
As part of the partnership, announced in August, PENN will pay ESPN $1.5 billion in cash over 10 years, as well as grant ESPN $500 million of warrants to purchase approximately 31.8 million common shares of PENN. In the meantime, PENN started work on rebranding its previous Barstool Sportsbook into ESPN BET within a few months.
In addition to sports wagering, users can also access an online casino within ESPN BET under the Hollywood Casino name, owned and operated by PENN. The casino option is only available in Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
"We're extremely proud to introduce ESPN BET and look forward to delivering an exceptional customer experience to fans across the U.S.,” said Jay Snowden, CEO and president of PENN Entertainment. “Our successful 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 Barstool Sportsbook was taken offline Tuesday morning around 9:30 a.m. ESPN BET Virginia went live in the afternoon with the first bet placed at 3:40 p.m. The first bet was $5 on Chet Holmgren and Victor Wembanyama to combine for over 19.5 rebounds at +175 odds.
ESPN BET Offers Promos to New Customers
Virginia sports betting customers new to ESPN BET will receive a 100% deposit match on their first deposit, up to $1,000. The app also provides a 2% cashback rate on all casino games and 5% on all sportsbook betting.
New players and existing customers from the previous Barstool Sportsbook can earn $200 in Bonus Bets by logging into ESPN BET and placing a sportsbook cash wager of any amount. Once their first bet is placed the customer will receive four $50 bonus bets. Bonus Bets are bonus funds that may only be used on ESPN BET.
During Tuesday’s launch, some users reported receiving notifications on their phones showing their Bonus Bet coming from Barstool Sportsbook and ESPN BET. One bettor in New Jersey turned a $50 Bonus Bet from ESPN BET into a $50,000 win by correctly picking 11 college basketball point spreads.
ESPN BET joins the thriving Virginia betting apps market as the 16th operator in the state. Sport wagering operators in the Old Dominion have handled over $11.8 billion in wagers from bettors since launch in January 2021.
Bally Bet’s Return in Virginia
Bally Bet returned to operating in Virginia recently after shutting down its sports betting service in June. The sports betting app is owned and operated by Bally’s Corp., based in Rhode Island. On June 20, Bally’s issued an email to Bally’s Bet customers announcing a sportsbook service interruption was planned.
After laying off 15% of its workforce early this year, Bally’s Interactive decided to shut down its Bally Bet sports betting service for a redesign.
“Over the next few months, we will be working to elevate your betting experience and as of June 30, 2023, you will no longer be able to access Bally Bet,” the company said in an email to customers.
Once the redesign was complete in September, Bally's Interactive, together with the NFL Cleveland Browns, announced the launch of the all-new Bally Bet Sportsbook app in Ohio. The new app, built in collaboration with gaming technology companies White Hat Gaming and Kambi Group, “features tried and tested technology that will provide Browns and sports fans throughout Ohio with an optimal sports betting experience,” the company said in a press release. The all-new Bally Bet is now available in Ohio, Arizona, Virginia, Colorado, New York and Indiana.