ESPN Bet Generated Huge First Monthly Handle in Michigan

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Last month, online casino gaming brands and sportsbooks brought in 209.2 million in revenue in the state of Michigan. Of the 14 different sportsbooks and 15 casino brands, two stood out from the rest by making their official debut. We’re referring to the newly rebranded ESPN BET sportsbook and ESPN/Hollywood online Casino.

According to figures released by the MGCB on December 19th, ESPN BET launched with a bang, ending the month as the fourth most popular sportsbook app in the state of Michigan. PENN Entertainment’s previous online sportsbook partner, Barstool Sportsbook, had gone several months without a top spot before last month’s performance. ESPN Bet was officially live for 2 weeks and 2 days in November. 

What Is ESPN Bet and When Did It Launch?

ESPN BET officially took the place of Barstool Sportsbook on November 14th. PENN Entertainment announced the plan to transition the brand to the ESPN title back on August 8th. For many, including its own CEO, it was unexpected that Disney-owned ESPN would enter such a business endeavor. ESPN is also synonymous with sports broadcasting for many professional and semi-pro sports. Therefore, it’s understandable why some would question whether the world’s leading sports broadcasting company should enter the realm of sports betting. Despite this, the ESPN Bet app performed astoundingly well, bringing in a handle of $54.8 million. That’s a 164% increase from the $20.7 million Barstool Sportsbook generated in September of this year.

The actual transition was finally possible last month. So, for the first half of the month, online casino players were met with the same Barstool website that has been around since it launched in Michigan on January 21st, 2021, and for the last two and a half weeks, players experienced ESPN’s new sportsbook. 

Throughout the month of November, the two brands, barstool, and ESPN BET, brought in a sports betting handle of $54.8 million. It was the first time for PENN in the top 4 or 5. The last time they secured a top 4 monthly revenue spot was in April of this year. According to the MGCB, over $6.7 million was generated in revenue by the two sports betting brands in November. 

Alongside ESPN BET’s success is PENN’s latest casino entertainment brand, Hollywood Casino Online. To operate an online sports wagering or casino entity legally in the state, operators must partner with a physical casino brand in the state of Michigan. Since gaining its license in the state, PENN Entertainment has partnered with the Hollywood Casino at Greektown in Detroit. As part of PENN’s rebranding of their sports betting app, they also wanted to make a change to the online casino side of operations. The Hollywood Casino Online is currently the newest site for casino players to enjoy online games.

PENN’s decision to rebrand the casino side of things has also led to an increase in monthly revenue. The website experienced a monthly revenue record of $4.1 million, just a little behind their highest month for the year (which was March 2023, with $4.3 million). 

Time will tell whether the online casino and sportsbook brands run by PENN Entertainment can continue to win new business through their unique promotions and stay profitable in a highly competitive market.

Quick Numbers From ESPN’s Launch Month

Total sports betting revenue from November: $6,747,797

Total online casino revenue from November: $4,125,571

Taxes generated from the PENN-operated brands during November: $1,141,290

Mac Daniel is a writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com