ESPN Bet Sportsbook Review

espn bet

Introduction

ESPN BET launched on November 14, 2023 amid the type of fanfare you would expect of a brand that is already one of the biggest, if not the biggest, providers of sports and entertainment in the world. Let’s face it… they were never going to tiptoe quietly into the sports betting area. Not a chance. Don’t forget, ESPN = Disney, so the trumpets and fireworks were inevitable.

And there was no testing of the water in a couple of states either. ESPN BET went straight into 17 states with all guns blazing.

In truth, they cheated a bit and what’s really happened is that ESPN and PENN Entertainment have partnered up and have re-branded PENN’s existing sportsbook – Barstool – with ESPN branding. There’s probably a little more to it than that  – it looks a bit different – and I’m pretty sure there is more to come from a site that currently (oddly) lacks a bit of razzmatazz.  

As you would expect, what they have to offer has massive potential – it helps when you have a couple of huge international conglomerates behind you – but they’re not there yet. Let me tell you what I think…

21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER


ESPN BET State Availability

ESPN BET may be at the start of their journey but for all the reasons above have smashed through the saloon doors with all guns blazing. No messing about … straight into 17 states with plans for more to come in the near future.

The usual Ts & Cs apply, of course, and bettors have to 21+ to bet in 16 of the 17 states, with Kentucky the one exception where to place a bet you have to be 18+, but you can log in, deposit, withdraw, and check your transaction history from anywhere in the US. 

With just 17 of the 50 states offering an ESPN BET platform, the issue of the geo-tech not working as you cross state lines has not yet been properly stress-tested but we are told the tech is in place to enable this to happen seamlessly. For now, we’ll take their word for it … but we’re watching!

As mentioned above, the list of legal ESPN BET states will continue to grow in the coming months and years but for now they are…

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

Availability

Availability
6 10 0 1
ESPN BET has already reached out further than any sportsbook could expect to after just a few weeks/months in operation but, you know, they are ESPN after all.
ESPN BET has already reached out further than any sportsbook could expect to after just a few weeks/months in operation but, you know, they are ESPN after all.
6/10

Sign Up Process

Signing up for ESPN BET is a relatively straightforward process if by straightforward process you mean a bit of standard form-filling followed by a verification process to ensure you are who you say you are.

The only problem comes if you’re not who you say you are, but as you are, then you’re good to go! Unless you’re not…

Anyway, let me take through the process, step-by-step:

First up, you need to create an account and to do so, on the first screen you see you enter all of the required personal information.

  • Email address
  • Phone number

Next, you‘ll be asked to create…

  • Username
  • Secure password

At this point, once the account has been created, you’ll be prompted to enter any promo codes, which will unlock your introductory bonus bets.

Account Verification

You’re almost-there-but-not-quite and the next stage is to verify an email that should by now have arrived in your inbox. Once verified you’ll then be asked for the last four digits of your social security number.

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You’re now able to personalize your account by adding your personal and set all of your responsible gambling limits like check-in frequency, daily time limit, deposit and spend limit, maximum single wager limits, and, of course, loss limits.

The final part of the process – the one that takes the most effort (but not too much) – is the ID check, where you will be asked to scan one of the following:

  • Driver’s license
  • ID card
  • Passport

And then you’re good to go. Just make your deposit and away you go, with any promo codes unlocking your $250 worth bonus bets, which I found were released in chunks of $50.

Sign Up Process

Sign Up Process
8 10 0 1
All in all I found it to be a fairly standard, straightforward process, which took less than an hour from start to finish. Providing you’re not the product of a Russian bot farm or a money launderer, you’ll be fine.
All in all I found it to be a fairly standard, straightforward process, which took less than an hour from start to finish. Providing you’re not the product of a Russian bot farm or a money launderer, you’ll be fine.
8/10

Payment Options

Given that ESPN BET are desperate to make a good early impression and are tapping into the framework left by Barstool, it almost goes without saying that they offer lots of payment and withdrawal options, ranging from the tried-and-trusted to the slightly more obscure.

I found that most options are available in all 17 states although (also from my own experience) there are always one or two anomalies and it’s unlikely all 17 states offer the exact same options. As they expand beyond the existing 17 these anomalies will multiply but, for now, it all looks pretty straightforward.

As always, depositing money in a new account is a much quicker process than withdrawing fund – such is life – but we have tried and tested some of the options available to give you a guide as to the quickest.

Withdrawing Funds

Consistent with most other major players, the withdrawal time is pretty much instant if you use e-wallets, like PayPal, Skrill and Venmo, but unlike most of the rest they also claim that withdrawals via debit card are instant. And, to be fair, in my experience, if the withdrawal has been reviewed and approved they are right! The review process applies for all methods, and the table below reflects withdrawal times after the review process has been completed.  

Withdrawal MethodProcessing Time
Debit CardInstant
Online Banking2 to 3 business days
ACH/e-check2 to 3 business days
PayPalInstant
SkrillInstant
VenmoInstant
Cash at Casino7 days from approval
Wire Transfer24 hours
Check14 to 21 business days

Payout Speed

Payout Speed
8 10 0 1
The options for payments and withdrawals are plentiful and their processing times are right up there with the best of them. Nothing not to like.  
The options for payments and withdrawals are plentiful and their processing times are right up there with the best of them. Nothing not to like.  
8/10

Sports Markets

Aussie Rules, Baseball, Basketball, Boxing, Cricket. Cycling, Darts, NFL, Golf, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, MMA, Motorsports, Rugby League, Rugby Union, Soccer, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Winter Sports.

ESPN BET offers an excellent, if not exhaustive, range of sports which, unsurprisingly, replicates the offering previously made by Barstool. Why wouldn’t it? They major, of course, on North American sports, but also have markets for all the big, and not-so-big, soccer leagues across the world and, in addition to sports, offer betting markets for TV and culture, and some live gaming, such as Dota 2.

All in all, it’s a pretty good offering, which is in line with everything else that has happened since ESPN BET entered the world of sports betting, and from my limited experience of using their site, their sports offering is not state specific. If you can get it in Michigan you can get it in Ohio, and if you can get it in Ohio you can get it in New Jersey etc etc

Sports Coverage

Sports Coverage
8 10 0 1
No complaints, and we didn’t expect there to be, A good, solid choice that will satisfy the needs of most bettors.  
No complaints, and we didn’t expect there to be, A good, solid choice that will satisfy the needs of most bettors.  
8/10

ESPN BET Sportsbook App

Available on both iOS and Android.

Unsurprisingly, what ESPN BET offer those who prefer to bet on their cell phone is good. The app looks good, is nicely formatted and user-friendly – a heady combination – and delivers in almost every aspect. It has a particularly pleasing early cash-out feature and has took all the good bits of the Barstool app and given it an ESPN twist. It’s rated at 4.9 out of 5 and with good reason.  

On this occasion, the app is an improvement on the desktop site, which by comparison is a little cumbersome, but, don’t get me wrong, both are more than capable of doing the job – the app is just better.

ESPN BET’s desire to give their sports viewers a chance to become sports bettors with one simple click is well served by this app, which is as easy to use as it is to install.   

Mobile App Experience

Mobile App Experience
9 10 0 1
Nothing not to like here. In fact, it’s good – better than the desktop site. Think Barstool, give it a Disney twist and you have the ESPN BET app.
Nothing not to like here. In fact, it’s good – better than the desktop site. Think Barstool, give it a Disney twist and you have the ESPN BET app.
9/10

Promotions

In keeping with their aim of giving their sports content readers a nice easy route into their sports betting arena, ESPN BET have started off with a more-than-decent array of offers and promotions. Tento be precise … at least at the time of this review. So, in no particular order, we’ll take a look at a few of them.

ESPN Sign Up Bonus – Make Any Sportsbook Bet, Get $200

As the newest kid on the block it was important for ESPN BET to offer their new users a quality promo and, to be fair, they haven’t disappointed.

Basically, any new user can earn themselves $200 promo once they place their first wager on any event, sport or league that is available on the app during the period of the promotion.

They will immediately be provided with three incremental $50 bonus bets following the placing of that first bet, which is, usually between 24 to 48 hours later, followed by a final $50 bonus.

image 31

It should go without saying – but I’ll say it anyway – that the bonuses comes in the form of credits to your account and not as a cash reward. But no promo codes are needed (if you’re logging into ESPN BET directly) and it’s an automated process, so all good.

$1,000 Deposit Match

Nothing too complicated about this one … just a simple 100% deposit match on the first deposit made by new ESPN BET bettors up to $1,000 in what they call “Eligible Cashback”, which for their sportsbook is at a rate of 5%. There is no requirement to opt-in and it is available to bettors who have not previously registered in a state where the ESPN BET app is live.

image 32

In order to unlock the offer, providing they have complied with all the relevant Ts & Cs, the new bettor simply has to have made their first-time deposit into their account.

The cashback comes in the form of – in their words – ‘ a non-wagerable bonus balance which converts to withdrawable cash at a rate specified through eligible cash wagers.’

This particular promotion ends on December 31, 2023 but will likely be replaced by something similar.

Get Up Specials

These are one-offs that can change on a daily basis and basically consist of a series of selected boost bets. Those on offer at the time of this review- which were all NBA related – are as follows:

image 33

The above gives just a flavor of what they offer and, to be honest, all we can really say is check when you bet. They amount to some hand-picked bet boosts, which will usually offer some really good value.  

The Parlay Club

This is pretty good and even better for me when trying to describe it as their promo image describes it perfectly – better than I ever could.

Basically, they’re saying that if you place a parlay with a minimum of four legs and for a stake of a minimum of $10 then, regardless of whether or not the bet comes in, you will be awarded a bonus bet worth $10. Straightforward enough?

image 34

The usual Ts & Cs apply, which for this particular promotion are around the fact that an opt-in is required but that every single bet available to punters on ESPN BET during the promotion period is available to be part of the parlay  

50 Point Special

This one’s the NBA lovers among you … especially if your team has a Luka Doncic or a Damian Lillard in its ranks. In fact, if your team, or even an opponent, has a player in it you think capable of hitting the magic 50-point mark then it’s game on!

image 35

So… simple… you place your Moneyline wager in an NBA game in which you believe there is a player capable of busting the 50-point barrier and keep everything crossed.

If your bet comes in then you could receive double the odds of the original wager with the extra payout being paid in the form of bonus bets up to a value of $1,000. There is no opt-in requirement for this promotion.

Overtime Protection (NFL)

This is one of those that does as it says on the tin. Not rocket science, but some protection for your Moneyline bet if the game you’ve bet on goes to overtime.

image 36

So … if you place a pre-live cash Moneyline bet for any NFL game that settles as a loss as a result of the team losing in overtime, you are eligible to receive to receive your full stake back in the form of bonus bets up to a maximum of $1,000. Again, this is automatic – no opt-in is required.

Promotions

Promotions
9 10 0 1
These are good and there plenty of them – I’ve listed just a selection. As we’ve come to expect from ESPN BET, they’re going for it… big style.  
These are good and there plenty of them – I’ve listed just a selection. As we’ve come to expect from ESPN BET, they’re going for it… big style.  
9/10

Betting Options

Because they have ridden into the betting arena on the coattails of Barstool, it’s no surprise that ESPN BET offer a very familiar range of betting options. You could almost be forgiven for thinking they are the exact same range of betting options!

Nothing too spectacular or innovative but they cover the basics. That’s not to say they won’t have a few more tricks up their sleeve as they develop – still early days of course – but what they have on offer now looks a little something like this:

Live Betting Markets

Unsurprisingly, this forms a big part of ESPN BET’s offering and along with every other major sportsbook, they offer plenty of markets in plenty of sports for live betting.

At the exact time of this review there were two markets available – tennis and cricket (yes, really!) – but they change constantly and can easily be identified by the ‘live’ markers alongside their listing of sports. Just click on those marked ‘live’ and away you go. Alternatively, click on the ‘Live’ icon at the very top of the home page (see below) and every single event with a live market will be listed.  

image 37

No Live Streaming

I’ve listed this but only to make the point that, at the moment, there are no live streaming options. Given that this is ESPN we’re talking about – the Kings of live sport – I’m not expecting this to be an ongoing position but as I write there is no facility within their sportsbook to stream live sport to watch as your bets unfold.

Instead, for now, they direct you to their main website where, if you have a relevant subscription, you can watch all the live sport they have to offer.

Watch this space … that’s the best I can offer at this stage. Boooooo!

Standard Bet Types

It goes without saying that all of the bets your recognize as normal in your average, everyday US sportsbook are covered by ESPN BET but just to make sure we’ve covered all bases, expect to find options for the following…

  • Moneylines 
  • Point Spreads 
  • Totals (Over/Under) 
  • Futures
  • Win Totals
  • Parlays 
  • Team Props
  • Player Props
  • Game Props

Betting Options

Betting Options
6 10 0 1
A perfectly fine selection of betting options but nothing very innovative – at least at the time of this review – and it does seem more than a little odd that a live sport monster like ESPN doesn’t offer live sport in their sportsbook.  
A perfectly fine selection of betting options but nothing very innovative – at least at the time of this review – and it does seem more than a little odd that a live sport monster like ESPN doesn’t offer live sport in their sportsbook.  
6/10
Total Score

Customer Reward Scheme

ESPN BET don’t provide a customer reward scheme per se but instead point you in the direction of PENN Entertainment’s world-renowned loyalty program. Some may see this as cheating but given how lucrative PENN Play is, or can be, then I’m not expecting there to be too many complaints.

If you’re not familiar with PENN’s offering, then let enlighten you. It’s basically a tiered rewards system that allows bettors to earn complimentary items, luxury gifts, travel perks, hotel stays at PENN Entertainment establishments, cash, and much more.

It is divided into five annual tiers – called Play, Advantage, Preferred, Elite and Owners Club and which tier you fall in depends on how many points you have accumulated through your bets:

  • Play: 0 – 999 Tier Points
  • Advantage: 1,000 – 17,999 Tier Points
  • Preferred: 18,000 – 49,999 Tier Points
  • Elite: 50,000 – 199,999 Tier Points
  • Owners Club: 200,000+ Tier Points

While PENN Play is available to all of their customers – hotels guests, land-based casino bettors etc. – they have now opened it up on online bettors, who will earn 1 Tier Point per $10 wagered on sports bets or ESPN exclusive bets and 1 Tier Point per $5 wagered on parlay bets.

In addition, ESPN BET customers can also earn real-time rewards in the form of PENN’s loyalty currency – known as PENN Cash – which unlocks at 3,000 Tier Points, and the earns the bettor more and better rewards. 

Customer Rewards

Customer Rewards
8 10 0 1
While is not ESPN BET’s own scheme, it’s available to all of their customers, so is the next best thing. And it’s good!
While is not ESPN BET’s own scheme, it’s available to all of their customers, so is the next best thing. And it’s good!
8/10

ESPN BET Customer Support

You’d expect ESPN BET to deliver a quality customer service and they don’t disappoint.

In their own words:

“To resolve your ESPN BET issue or question, please contact an ESPN BET Specialist directly at support@espnbet.com@ESPNBetSupport, or go to ESPNBET.com and start a live chat any time of day or night. ESPN BET is owned and operated by PENN Entertainment, Inc.”

And, to be fair, they’re true to their word. From my experience, the live chat facility is the way to go, where you get a swift and polite response to even the most trivial and idiotic question. The email option is also okay, albeit the reply is nothing like as instant as a live chat, and the telephone helpline is decent, even if you may find yourself in a bit of a queue.

All of the above can be easily accessed once you have logged into your account. Simply click on the ‘Help’ icon and then ‘Customer Support’, where you’ll be offered all of the available options.

image 38

They also offer an FAQ page, which helps answer some of the more basic queries, so all-in-al, it’s a pretty good offering.

Customer Support

Customer Support
9 10 0 1
A good effort all round with the added bonus of speaking to a real human being if you use the telephone helpline.   
A good effort all round with the added bonus of speaking to a real human being if you use the telephone helpline.   
9/10

ESPN BET Responsible Gambling

It almost goes without saying that ESPN BET take this super-seriously. They have to, to be honest, and to not do so would put them a step or two behind their biggest US rivals – and that wouldn’t be a good look.

They have given the issue the prominence it deserves with an RG icon at the top

image 39

If you click on RG it takes you to a dedicated page where you are greeted with their corporate take on topic followed by six separate links that open up new pages on a variety of related topics. We post it all below verbatim:

“If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-Gambler. We want players to have fun and enjoy our products safely, and that’s why we’re committed to a policy of responsible gaming.

“While we recognize that the overwhelming majority of our players enjoy gaming responsibly, we also recognize that there is a small portion of the population who do not. Some users may get carried away and risk overspending, and for some people, compulsive gambling becomes a more serious problem.

“To protect these people and others who are affected by their behavior, we have established a set of policies and guidelines modeled after the American Gaming Association’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming.

“The Code establishes minimum standards that address problem gambling, underage gambling and responsible marketing and advertising. The information and resources on this page help players like you gamble responsibly.

“We encourage you to review these pages thoroughly. You are always welcome to reach out with questions or concerns.”

Responsible Gaming Help and Resources:

  • Responsible Gaming Help and Resources
  • How To Play Responsibly
  • Tips, Myths, Risks, and Signs of Problem Gambling
  • Complaints
  • Account Management
  • Self-Exclusion

Responsible Gambling

Responsible Gambling
10 10 0 1
ESPN BET have done all they can to highlight the potential pitfalls and also offer help to those who have, or potentially have, a problem … which is all you can ask.
ESPN BET have done all they can to highlight the potential pitfalls and also offer help to those who have, or potentially have, a problem … which is all you can ask.
10/10

OVERALL: 8/10

TOTAL SCORES

  • AVAILABILITY

6/10

ESPN BET has already reached out further than any sportsbook could expect to after just a few weeks/months in operation but, you know, they are ESPN after all.

  • SIGN UP PROCESS

8/10

A fairly standard, straightforward process, which took less than an hour from start to finish. Providing you’re not the product of a Russian bot farm or a money launderer, you’ll be fine.

  • PAYOUT SPEED

8/10

The options for payments and withdrawals are plentiful and their processing times are right up there with the best of them. Nothing not to like. 

  • SPORTS COVERAGE

8/10

No complaints, and we didn’t expect there to be, A good, solid choice that will satisfy the needs of most bettors. 

Summary & Final Score

Summary & Final Score
8 10 0 1
Given that ESPN BET have ridden in on the coattails of the already successful Barstool, what they offer is a little underwhelming, but – and it’s a big but – it is still early days for them. Given the corporate might they have behind them, I expect the site and app to have a very different look before too long but at the time of this review it looks, dare I say it, a little basic. They offer a good range of promos though, in addition to a good sign-up offer, and there is potential for this to eventually be very good.
Given that ESPN BET have ridden in on the coattails of the already successful Barstool, what they offer is a little underwhelming, but – and it’s a big but – it is still early days for them. Given the corporate might they have behind them, I expect the site and app to have a very different look before too long but at the time of this review it looks, dare I say it, a little basic. They offer a good range of promos though, in addition to a good sign-up offer, and there is potential for this to eventually be very good.
8/10
Total Score

The Good

  • Access to an excellent customer rewards scheme
  • Great sign up offers
  • Loads of promos

The Bad

  • No live sport streaming on site
  • Basic desktop offering
Total
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