ESPN Bet Ohio: What We Know About the ESPN Bet Launch in Ohio (Updated Sept. 2023)

Fact Checked by Wes Roesch

Bettors in the Buckeye State are already anticipating the launch of ESPN Bet Ohio, which has a projected opening of fall 2023 — likely prior to Thanksgiving. While we know very little about the sportsbook, which is a rebrand of Barstool Sportsbook, it's possible this could be the biggest news in the Ohio sports betting market all year. Read on to find out everything you need to know about one of the soon-to-be giants of the sportsbook industry. 

ESPN Bet Ohio Promo Code & Sportsbook Launch Updates

Since ESPN Bet hasn’t launched yet, it’s still too early to know exactly what Ohio sportsbook promos and welcome offers we will see from the sportsbook. ESPN Bet Ohio is expected to go live this fall. The brand new sportsbook will initially launch as a rebrand of Barstool Sportsbook, but we expect ESPN’s influence to change the book in new and exciting ways.

📅 Expected Launch:Before Thanksgiving 2023
✏️ ESPN Bet Ohio Promo Code:TBD
🎁 ESPN Bet Ohio Promo:Coming Soon
🏛️ Licensed By:Ohio Casino Control Commission
Last Updated:September 30, 2023

ESPN Bet Ohio Promos to Expect at Launch

We still don’t know exactly what promotions to expect from ESPN Bet when it launches in Ohio later this fall. However, we can reasonably expect the sportsbook to have welcome offers such as second-chance first bets, deposit matches, or “bet & get” offers that are exclusively available for new users. Additionally, offers for ongoing users like odds boosts and bonus bets for qualifying wagers or deposits could be on the table.

Monday Night Football Promos

ESPN has exclusive rights to Monday Night Football. When the sportsbook launches, we expect the operator to utilize this deal to great effect. Bettors are likely to see plenty of unique markets, prop bets, odds boosts, and much more. This has the potential to make Monday Night Football – already one of the most fun events in football – even better. Stay tuned for updates on these offers. 

Bet & Get Promo 

A “bet & get” sportsbook promotion is a simple offer where a qualifying wager (the “bet”) automatically gives you a reward (the “get”). The reward usually comes in the form of bonus bet credits, generally in a predetermined amount. Bet & get promotions are a popular type of welcome offer used by sportsbooks to attract and reward new users. For example, you might see a sportsbook with an offer such as “Bet $5, Get $200.” This attractive welcome offer will reward you with $200 in bonus bet credits if you open an account with the sportsbook, deposit money, and place a bet of $5 or more. ESPN Bet may offer some form of bet & get promos to its new and/or existing users.


ESPN is different from other sportsbooks in that it is already established as a media giant in the sports world. We could see the brand leverage this position to offer giveaways as a form of promotion through ESPN Bet. For example, it is possible that ESPN Bet includes a welcome offer with a giveaway for a few months or a year of free access to the ESPN+ streaming service, where thousands of sporting events can be watched live or on recording. Giveaways like these are just one example of how ESPN Bet might use its position to provide unique offerings to its users.

Deposit Match 

A deposit match is a type of sportsbook promotion that is usually offered as a welcome bonus. These promos will match your initial deposit with the sportsbook, up to a certain amount, with bonus bet credits. For example, you might see a deposit match promo with a value of up to $1,000. This means that when you sign up with the sportsbook and use this promotion, your first deposit will be matched by the sportsbook to give you an equal amount of money in the form of bonus bets, up to a value of $1,000. Bonus bets are credits you can use to wager on the sportsbook. If your bets placed with bonus bets win, you can usually withdraw your winnings like normal money. Some promotions have fine print that include “playthrough requirements” which say how many times you must wager your bonus bets and win before you can withdraw the funds.

Odds Boosts 

An odds boost is a type of promotion often offered by sportsbooks that can add value to certain bets you place. An odds boost works by increasing the odds on qualifying bets, effectively increasing the amount of money you can win on that bet while wagering the same amount. Odds boosts don’t make your bet more likely to win, they just increase profits on winning bets. Odds boosts can be a super straightforward way to add value to the bets you place, but you should never compromise on placing smart bets just to qualify for an odds boost promotion.

Reload Bonus

Some sportsbook bonuses are targeted at attracting new users to the platform, while others are meant to add value to existing customers’ experience so that they continue to use the platform. Reload bonuses are a great example of the latter. These are very similar to deposit match promos, only they give a reward for existing users who “reload,” or deposit more funds into their sportsbook account. We could see ESPN Bet use this type of promotion to try to hold onto new users who are initially excited about the new sportsbook.

ESPN Bet Ohio Sportsbook Legislation Timeline: September 2023

  • 📆 August 22, 2023: ESPN’s Mike Morrison tells iGamingBusiness this was a deal five years in the making. He says "“We began looking at the sports betting space in 2018, ahead of the repeal of PASPA,” he explains. “We had some sense that things could change and we began to tee up a strategy and process about how ESPN might get involved in sports betting.”
  • 📆 August 11, 2023: Shortly after announcing its partnership with PENN to rebrand the existing Barstool Sportsbook to ESPN Bet, ESPN announces that they are adding sports betting analyst Seve Coughlin to the College Gameday program. The move signals how ESPN will look to combine its existing media presence with its new foothold in the sports betting world.
  • 📆 August 8, 2023: ESPN and PENN Entertainment officially announce a partnership involving the rebrand of Barstool Sportsbook in Ohio and every other state. ESPN Bet Ohio is likely to go live by Thanksgiving.
  • 📆 November 2022: ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro refutes rumors that ESPN was nearing a deal with DraftKings Sportsbook to enter the sports betting industry. He says “We’ve been exploring...we’re not going to create a book. We’ve had conversations with all the usual suspects.”
  • 📆 2021: The Wall Street Journal reports that ESPN had branding discussions with both Caesars and DraftKings, and that the sports media giant was looking to license its brand with an established sports betting platform for around $3 billion.

What Is ESPN Bet?

ESPN Bet Ohio is a new sportsbook set to launch later this year. It is a rebrand of Barstool Sportsbook Ohio, a property of PENN Entertainment. The Barstool brand was recently sold back to founder Dave Portnoy, who plans to move away from the sports betting scene and back to making the Barstool brand a content-only platform.

PENN Entertainment reached an agreement with ESPN to use the ESPN Bet trademark for the next decade, making this a massive rebrand and overhaul. 

“This transformative, exclusive agreement with ESPN marks another major milestone in PENN’s evolution from a pure-play U.S. regional gaming operator to a North American entertainment leader,” said Jay Snowden, PENN CEO and president. “ESPN Bet will be deeply integrated with ESPN’s broad editorial, content, digital and linear product, and sports programming ecosystem.”


What We Know About ESPN Bet Ohio

  • PENN was required to pay ESPN $1.5 billion in cash. ESPN will also be given $500 million in warrants to purchase an estimated 31.8 million shares in PENN stock. 
  • PENN will hold the rights to ESPN media, marketing services and branding. 
  • The new agreement between PENN and ESPN Bet Sportsbook is contracted for 10 years with the option to renew. 
  • PENN will rebrand Barstool Sportsbook as ESPN Bet in the fall. 
  • ESPN Bet will launch in 16 states. Whether theScore Bet, the PENN operated sportsbook in Ontario will also be unbranded has not been announced. 
  • PENN sold back Barstool to the original founder, Dave Portnoy.

Is ESPN Bet Legal?

Not yet, but it will be by the end of the year. PENN Entertainment plans to use the existing Barstool license to launch ESPN Bet, so it should be a seamless transition for the company. What this means is that ESPN Bet Sportsbook in Ohio will be legal and licensed by the Ohio Casino Control Commission. 

When Will ESPN Bet Go Live in Ohio?

The current plan is for ESPN Bet to go live during the fall of 2023, possibly prior to Thanksgiving (Nov. 23).

Will There Be Any ESPN Bet Ohio Promos?

ESPN Bet Ohio has not made any official announcements of offering promos to new users. However, traditionally, when a sportsbook, such as BetMGM Ohio, goes live, they offer an assortment of promotions to new users.

Who Can Claim the ESPN Bet Ohio Promos?

More than likely the ESPN Bet Ohio launch promos will be available for new users. Whether this will include current Barstool bettors is unknown. We hope that everyone will get the opportunity for maximum interest!

Features to Expect at ESPN Bet

We can expect ESPN Bet to offer some excellent features, including popular options like same game parlays, early cash out, and odds boosts. While it is still unclear exactly what features we can expect at ESPN Bet, we do know that this will be a major sportsbook that will be looking to compete with other top brands, so we are likely to see an array of features to make the book competitive.

Same Game Parlays

Parlay bets are wagers that combine two or more individual bets into a single, larger, bet with higher odds. The advantage of parlay betting is that you can build bets with very high odds, and if every individual bet, or “leg” of your parlay hits, you can win a significant amount of money without a very large initial wager. Same game parlays take the parlay concept and allow you to build a parlay bet with individual legs that all come from the same game. This can make watching your favorite sporting events more exciting, all while giving you the opportunity to win big. We’d expect ESPN Bet to have same game parlays as one of their betting options once they launch.

Early Cash Out

Early cash out is a great sportsbook feature that lets you get “out” of a bet before it has actually closed. This can have the advantage of allowing you to cut your losses on a bet that has become more likely to lose, or securing certain winnings on a bet that has become more likely to win. For example, let’s say you took the moneyline on the Browns to beat the Bengals this Sunday. If the Browns are winning by 7 late in the third quarter against the Bengals, you might see an option to cash out early, securing a certain profit on your bet but not quite the profit you could make if the Browns hold on and win the game. Early cash out doesn’t really have any drawbacks—it just gives you, as the bettor, more control over your wager.

Easy Deposits and Withdrawals

As a major brand name and a company looking to immediately make an impact in the sports betting industry, we expect ESPN Bet to check the major boxes that people are looking for in an online sportsbook. One critical feature of any great book is to make it easy to deposit and withdraw money from your sportsbook account. Most online sportsbook operators include multiple banking options, such as credit and debit cards, online banking transfers, and seamless integration with third-party apps like PayPal or Venmo. Whatever the specific banking options available are, we expect ESPN Bet to make banking with them fast, easy, and secure.

ESPN Bet Ohio App

ESPN Bet will have a mobile app available for both iOS and Android users in the state. Ohio sportsbook apps are usually a streamlined version of their desktop counterparts, making it very fast and easy to place bets while on the go.

When is ESPN Bet Launching in Ohio?

We still don’t have an exact date nailed down for the ESPN Bet launch in Ohio, but we do expect a launch before the end of 2023. The book could launch before or shortly after Thanksgiving, and will likely include both an app and a desktop website version of the sportsbook. ESPN Bet should launch with some promotional offers immediately available, and more are expected to roll out in the coming months as the sportsbook gets established.

Will the ESPN Bet Ohio App Be the Same as Barstool Sportsbook?

The ESPN Bet platform will be birthed out of a partnership between PENN Entertainment, which has owned and operated Barstool Sportsbook in recent years, and ESPN. Thanks to the common denominator of PENN Entertainment, we do expect ESPN Bet to share a lot in common with Barstool Sportsbook. This isn’t a bad thing, as Barstool has been a highly successful and well-regarded sports betting platform. However, we also expect ESPN to take the sportsbook in new directions, potentially using their existing media presence to create a betting experience that is different from what is currently offered by other operators in the U.S. market.

ESPN Bet Ohio App Technology Information

ESPN Bet will be run by PENN Entertainment’s proprietary gaming software, called the PENN Interactive Gaming Platform. The software has been very successful in its early months with Barstool sportsbook, offering great features like in-game betting, improved cash out options, and streamlined navigation. ESPN’s partnership with PENN will eventually yield a sportsbook app that has ESPN branding and potential integration of unique ESPN offerings like the possibility of ESPN streaming services in-app. The Barstool App has great ratings on the Apple App Store and Google Play, signaling that PENN’s software is working well.

ESPN Bet Ohio Casino

ESPN Bet Sportsbook in Ohio has said they will offer an online casino platform in markets where online casinos are legal.  The platform will be branded with Hollywood Casino branding and feature hundreds of slots, tables, live games and more. Hollywood Casino is a nationally recognized brand operated by PENN Entertainment. Online casinos in Ohio are not legal; meaning, you won't have access to this platform.

What the Future Holds for ESPN Bet in Ohio

Ohio's strong sports market means that the state will almost certainly welcome ESPN Bet Ohio with open arms. Bettors will have a lot to look forward to, including some exciting features, promotions and more. We will continue updating our review of ESPN Bet Ohio to ensure you have the latest insights on the newest sports betting brand.

ESPN Bet Ohio Sportsbook FAQ


    Adam Wernham has over eight years of professional copywriting experience. Growing up in the Bay Area, Adam developed strong ties to local teams including the Giants, Warriors, and 49ers. His passion for sports and writing make him a strong voice on all things sports betting and a great asset to the BetOhio staff.

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