PENN Officially Launches ESPN Bet and Hollywood Online Casino in Michigan



  • After approval by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, ESPN Bet and Hollywood Casino Online have launched in Michigan on Tuesday, Nov. 14.
  • Both platforms will replace Barstool operations in Michigan, with existing customer data already transferred to the new sites.
  • ESPN Bet and Hollywood Casino are offering new users a 100% matched deposit promotion, bonus bets and free spins.

At the start of November, PENN Entertainment announced that it planned to launch ESPN Bet on November 14, if it got the requisite approval from the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Unsurprisingly, the sportsbooks officially debuted in Michigan on the said date, suggesting the success of the regulatory process.

Prior to now, it was uncertain if Hollywood Casino Online would launch alongside ESPN Bet. However, with the entire procedure now finalized, the casino has officially been made available to Michigan players. With both online platforms replacing Barstool Sports and Casino, the cherry on top of the cake for customers is the new set of promotions on offer.

ESPN Bet Comes with an Interface Similar to the Now Defunct Barstool

There are new online casino and sportsbook picks for Michigan residents, thanks to the launch of Hollywood Casino Online and ESPN Bet. As the replacement for Barstool platforms, Hollywood Casino Online and ESPN Bet will now become the official online casino and sport betting segments of Hollywood Casino at Greektown.

However, a first glance at the ESPN Bet leads us to conclude that there is not much difference between the new sportsbook and the now defunct Barstool platform. From the layout of the website to the mobile app, the similarity with Barstool is striking.

Among the features available are parlays, player props and futures. Players will also have access to dozens of markets, including the NBA, NFL, and international soccer games. 
Contrary to expectations though, Hollywood Casino Online is not a standalone platform, at least not yet. It is a feature available as part of the ESPN Bet mobile app. PENN Entertainment plans to roll out an independent app as soon as Hollywood Casino Online establishes a clear hold on the market.

For now, Hollywood Casino Online offers a relatively sizable array of gaming options for its customers. There are 115 slots, 20 live dealer titles and 40 table games. The casino also features six virtual poker games, with plans to upgrade the library in the coming months. 

PENN Banking on Existing ESPN Customer Base for Success in US

PENN Interactive will be looking to achieve better results with its new $1.5 billion partnership deal involving ESPN. Interestingly, the company does not plan to begin from nothing. Several indicators show that PENN is looking to leverage the already-established media strength that ESPN wields across the US.

For now, ESPN Bet is accessible in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and West Virginia. However, there are plans to extend to a total of 17 jurisdictions. The game plan for this expansion is to integrate the media offering of ESPN with the sports betting product. This approach is similar to one used by theScore Bet when it launched in Ontario earlier this year.

As reported earlier, ESPN is already using ESPN Bet odds and general branding on its TV programmes and website. Even better, users can access direct links from the ESPN app to the ESPN Bet app. There will also be betting related news, interlinked between ESPN and ESPN Bet.

The pre-existing user base for ESPN could also provide an avenue for ESPN Bet to thrive. In September alone, ESPN reported having 12 million users on its app. Compared to FanDuel with 3.3 million and DraftKings to 2.9 million, ESPN commands the most significant share of the sports media market.

With PENN and former Barstool unique customers also joining the mix, ESPN Bet may be set for a massive adoption phase in the coming months. Comparing this case to theScore’s launch offers some impressive insight. 73% of the current users of theScore were sourced from the company’s media platforms. Overall, the sportsbook now has about 50% of the total market share in Ontario.

Given the similarity of both circumstances, it is expected that cross-selling strategies may birth incredible results for ESPN Bet.

New Players to Enjoy Up to $1,000 in Welcome Promotions on ESPN Bet 

Perhaps one of the most effective marketing techniques favored by Michigan online sportsbooks is the use of promotions. ESPN Bet is taking the same step by introducing offers for new customers. First in its long line of promotional packages is a 100% deposit match bonus on a player’s first deposit, up to $1,000. This bonus is available to only users who have not previously used Barstool.

Newbies are also eligible for up to $200 in Bonus Bets when they sign up on ESPN Bet and place a wager of any amount.

In addition, there is a 200 Bonus Spins offer. Upon registration, players can receive 50 Bonus Spins. After their first cash wager with a minimum of $1 on selected games, they will qualify to receive another 50 Bonus Spins. With 50 more wagers of at least $1, another 50 Bonus Spins will be available. Players can activate this last process twice to get up to 100 Bonus Spins.

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments