Penn Entertainment’s ESPN Bet, the new online sportsbook, has officially launched in 17 states across the US, allowing players to place bets on the ESPN Bet app and website in states such as Arizona, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio. The sportsbook is the result of Penn’s partnership with Disney-owned ESPN.

The launch of ESPN Bet marks a huge step for both companies, with Penn CEO Jay Snowden stating that the strategic alliance is expected to expand their digital ecosystem and drive re-engagement with their millions of customers, leading to cross-sell opportunities.

Penn’s rights to the ESPN Bet brand will initially run for 10 years, with an option for an extension for another decade. Additionally, Penn has granted ESPN share purchase rights worth approximately $500m, and ESPN’s stake in the business could grow further if ESPN Bet hits market share targets for online betting.

ESPN’s vice-president of sports betting, Mike Morrison, views the launch of ESPN Bet as a natural progression for the sports broadcaster, noting that ESPN began looking at the sports betting space in 2018, ahead of the repeal of PASPA.

The launch of ESPN Bet will see an initial wave of integrations targeting an estimated audience of 200 million and will also feature a media advertising campaign led by SportsCenter anchors Scott van Pelt and Elle Duncan.

In terms of impartiality, Penn and ESPN have implemented guidelines for employees to protect impartiality, and both companies have developed content guidelines for ESPN Bet to ensure responsible marketing across social media. These efforts will aim to suppress marketing from those who have self-excluded or are excluded for other reasons, as well as ensuring that advertising does not target or include anyone under the age of 21.

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