ESPN Bet Will Launch Nov. 14 In 17 States Not Including North Carolina

PENN Entertainment, parent company of ESPN Bet, released a third-quarter earnings report today. The report indicated the gaming company took in revenue of $1.61 billion.

The more enticing news for many sports bettors is the launch date of ESPN Bet, which will debut in all 17 states where PENN is licensed, pending approval, on Nov. 14.

That launch will not include North Carolina for the time being. North Carolina online sports betting will launch between Jan. 8 and June 14, 2024.

PENN sees dip in revenue but growth in online sports betting

For July to September, PENN reports $196.3 million in revenue from interactive segments, which largely consist of online sports betting. The company filed an Adjusted EBITDA loss of $50.2 million for the quarter from interactive segment activity. Overall, PENN had an Adjusted EBITDAR of $523.4 million for Q3, a margin of 36.8%.

Revenue was down slightly: 0.4% compared to the same period in 2022. PENN reported a net income loss of $725 million for 2023 Q3, which equates to $4.80 loss per share. The earnings report explains that the company is seeing positive signs in many of its casinos.

“We continued to see relative strength in several locations, including our casinos in Ohio, Kansas, Massachusetts, and Missouri,” the report says.

PENN’s third-quarter earnings report shows that the company has a total liquidity as of September 30, 2023, of $2.3 billion, with $1.3 billion in cash. It had a traditional net debt as of Sep. 30, of $1.3 billion.

In 2023 through September, PENN reports $4.96 billion in revenue, a 3.1% increase over the first nine months of 2022. That improvement can be directly traced to online sports betting. The interactive statement is up $235 million from the first nine months of 2022, for a 51% gain.

ESPN Bet expected to be part of 2024 sports betting launch in North Carolina

ESPN Bet is replacing Barstool Sportsbook, which PENN sold back to founder Dave Portnoy in August.

At that time, ESPN and PENN Entertainment agreed to a 10-year deal that would potentially be worth $2 billion for ESPN. In exchange for a $1.5 billion payment, and possibly as much as $500 million in PENN stock, ESPN grants PENN rights to use its name on an online and retail sportsbook.

PENN confirmed that ESPN BET “will be powered by our proprietary and proven technology platform,” which means the app and online sportsbook will likely have much in common with the former Barstool product. However, the weight of ESPN’s many content channels, via television, radio, streaming, and the Internet, will promote ESPN Bet.

PENN has previously stated that ESPN personalities will lend their names and voices to promote the sports betting app, which some experts believe could challenge industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel.

Yesterday, ESPN Bet released its first pre-launch teaser featuring Scott Van Pelt.

NC sports betting regulators inching toward online sports betting launch

North Carolina sports betting is being prepped for a launch possibly as soon as early January of 2024. That depends on how regulators navigate rulemaking and licensing procedures.

While PENN left plans to launch ESPN Bet North Carolina sportsbook out of its Q3 earnings report, NCSharp expects ESPN Bet to be available in the Tar Heel State when sports betting goes live.

How PENN will be allowed to promote ESPN Bet is undecided. Regulators in Massachusetts have raised concerns over the new brand. Regulators in North Carolina could also create guidelines to rein in PENN and ESPN Bet.

The company indicated they have “curtailed marketing in the U.S. as we prepared to transition our online sportsbook to the ESPN BET brand.”

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes writes about sports betting, sports media, and sports betting legislative matters. He's the author of three books, and previously reported for Major League Baseball, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.