In August 2023, bombshell news came that at long last, ESPN was finally getting into sports gambling business. The Disney-owned brand had long delayed it — and probably left hundreds of millions of dollars on the table because of the cold feet. But hey, the point is ESPN’s betting offering is now live and it’s called ESPN Bet — simple and to the point name, we know.

ESPN Bet is a partnership with Penn Entertainment, which was previously in business with the controversial Barstool Sports. Penn’s sportsbook was branded the Barstool Sportsbook but failed to gain market share on the major players in the industry — BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel, to name a few. It was estimated the Barstool Sportsbook had a meager 3 percent market share in the United States.

espn betting

Penn moving on from Barstool (and selling the brand back to Dave Portnoy for a whopping $1) and going to ESPN felt like a Hail Mary — and it essentially is for both companies. It’s essentially the same app as before but re-skinned with ESPN branding instead of Barstool Sports. Officially, it’s a 10-year agreement worth $1.5 billion between the two. PENN needed a bigger name to attract sports bettors and it gets it with ESPN, which still broadcasts all the major sports on its network. ESPN, meanwhile, gets a new revenue stream as its main money source, cable subscriptions, continues to decline.

Question that has to be asked now, is ESPN Bet even any good? That’s what we’re trying to find out. We’ve tested out the new platform, which officially launched in November 2023, and here’s our unbiased review of it — including ESPN betting experience, ESPN promos, and a whole lot more. Let’s get into it:

States Where ESPN Bet Offers Legal Betting

It’s been an onslaught of states legalizing sports betting since a federal court struck down a law forbidding it. It’s now on each individual state to legalize it or not — and the majority of U.S. states have followed through on it. But even if a sport has legalized betting, it might have a limit on how many operators there is.

To make this all easy on you, we’ve organized a complete list of states where ESPN Bet is up and running. Here’s all 17:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

More states will probably allow ESPN Bet inside its borders soon enough. One of the reasons Penn ditched Barstool was because many states were weary of the brand, which has come under fire for racist and misogynistic content in the past. No such stigma exists with the Disney-owned ESPN brand.

One more thing about legality: states differ in how it allows sports betting. For example, some states only allow it in-person at retail bookies, not online via your phone or computer. Vice-versa also applies. When it comes to ESPN Bet, every single state except Tennessee allows sports betting both in-person and online. Tennessee, though, is strictly for online betting — not in a physical location. We’ve created a little chart to explain where and how ESPN Bet is legal:

StateMobile BettingRetail Betting
Arizona
Colorado
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
New Jersey
Ohio
Pennslyvania
Tennessee
Virginia
West Virginia

ESPN Bet Features

Former users of the Barstool Sportsbook app will be happy to know they’re automatically “grandfathered” into ESPN Bet. That means the same exact login credentials will work on ESPN Bet. Everything has been carried over in the brand switch — account balances, transaction history, stored payment methods, and more. The ESPN register process is cake too in case you’re completely new to the app and never used Barstool before.

All the major sports and leagues are bet-able with ESPN Bet. There’s a heavier emphasis on the major American sports like NFL, NBA, college football and basketball, UFC, and more. But don’t think there’s not a good dose of international sports too. Here’s a small peak of how deep the ESPN bets menu goes:

  • NFL
  • College Football
  • NBA
  • NCAAF
  • NCAAB
  • NHL
  • MLB
  • UFC
  • Boxing
  • MMA
  • Soccer
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Motorsports

One thing that immediately sticks out about ESPN Bet in a positive way is its lightning-quick speed. Despite having this deep — and we mean deep — sportsbook menu, ESPN best bets can be accessed super fast. Lag is nonexistent, especially when live betting (more on that shortly). This same speed can be seen when transacting money in and out of ESPN Bet.

Speaking of transactions, ESPN Bet supports a number of traditional payment methods — debit and credit cards (VISA and Mastercard), bank, paper checks, PayPal, and a few others. This should cover it for most bettors.

ESPN sports betting is great and all, but it’s not the only feature of ESPN Bet. There’s also an online casino, which is under Penn’s Hollywood Casino brand. It’s accessible with ESPN Bet, but the branding will differ. At the moment, the online casino is available in four states — Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

ESPN Mobile Betting

Betting on the go via your phone has become bettor’s go-to method of gambling. Therefore, many sportsbooks live and die off the quality of their mobile-betting experience. We can confidently say ESPN Bet lives just fine off it.

ESPN Bet mobile exists in two ways. One, you can download the ESPN Bet app straight to your phone. It’s available on both Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play Store. Two, ESPN Bet can be accessed from any mobile browser. So say you have an iPhone, just go to the site on your Safari browser and you can bet from there without a problem.

There’s no major fall-off from using the ESPN Bet desktop site (on your big computer) and the mobile site. Every feature is carried over just fine.

Where ESPN Bet’s mobile experience truly shines is via in-play betting. It works exactly like it’s supposed to — quickly updating betting lines, zero lag, and a deep menu to bet on. As live betting continues to gain popularity, ESPN Bet has the capability to meet the demand of users.

espn mobile apps

ESPN Promo Code

Yes, ESPN Bet does offer lucrative sportsbook bonuses. These are honestly ever-changing though so your “best bet” to see what’s available is to straight to the site and see what’s being offered.

But to give you an idea, we’re writing this in late 2023 and this promo is on the table: $250 worth of free bets. New users of the site get $250 for free as soon as they make one bet on the platform. One measly bet! It can be on any sport and of any size. ESPN bet will immediately credit $200 in free play, then the other $50 gets rewarded within a day or two of redemption.

Here again, the ESPN promotion code is consistently in flux. We don’t want to give you an outdated ESPN coupon codes so take our advice, and visit the website directly to get it.

espn promo codes

ESPN Bet Customer Service

Customer service is an area where we’d like to see some improvement out of ESPN Bet. Is it bad? We wouldn’t go that far. But is it elite? No way.

You see, ESPN Bet customer support is all online. Users can contact support staff in one of three ways: on Twitter, through their official handle @ESPNBetSupport. You can email them at support@espnbet.com. Or you can go directly to the website and use the live chat feature.

Here’s our gripe, there’s no call-in number that we could find. Call us old school, but when big money is on the line, we still prefer handling issues with a person over the phone. Context can get lost in chats and over email. Until ESPN Bet adds a call-in line, we’d hesitate to give its customer service high marks.

espn help center

Top Sportsbooks

As you can see, ESPN Bet is a solid online betting option. The fact that it’s brand-new gives us hope Penn and ESPN can continue to improve on it too. But if you’re not sold on it or live in a state where ESPN Bet isn’t allowed in, you might want to check out one of the offshore betting sites below. Per our other sportsbook reviews, the sportsbooks listed below rated extremely favorable.

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