The much-anticipated launch of ESPN Bet took place on Tuesday afternoon and the Empire State missed out on the party.
ESPN BET is now live across many states where Penn Entertainment’s Barstool-to-ESPN BET rebrand took place — Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. But ESPN BET New York was not on the list.
The state currently caps the number of active sportsbooks at nine and has reached capacity. New York sports betting launched on Jan. 8, 2022, with four platforms and currently has nine mobile sports betting providers operational. One of those operators, BallyBet, was off the grid for four months (19 weeks in total) and returned earlier this week as they were transitioning to a new Kambi-powered sports betting platform.
PENN to Pay ESPN More Than $1 Billion
PENN Entertainment is to pay ESPN $150 million a year for 10 years, with an out clause after three years and again after seven. Depending on performance, ESPN was also granted up to $500 million in warrants to buy shares of PENN stock.
The quickest way ESPN BET could enter the New York market would be to acquire an existing license from one of the nine operators in the state. The big four in the state — FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars and BetMGM New York — account for about 95% of the betting market and are presumably untouchable. PointsBet recently sold to Fanatics. That would leave Rush Street Interactive’s BetRivers, WynnBET, the aforementioned Bally Bet and Resorts World Bet.
A longer way for ESPN BET to enter the market would require legislative action to increase the number of approved sports betting operators in the state past nine. In October, the state went over the $2 billion mark in mobile handle, generating $2.007 billion (mobile only), a solid 14.1% jump from September’s $1.759 billion and a significant 29.9% increase from October 2022 ($1.543 billion). The previous record of $1.788 billion was recorded in January. Last month's figure was a $217.83 million jump over the old mark.