Launch Date of First-Ever Retail ESPN Bet Sportsbook Confirmed

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting


  • The sportsbook will open one day before the 2024 NFL Draft
  • ESPN Bet ranked fourth in handle and revenue amongst Michigan sportsbooks in February
  • ESPN hopes to grow its market share through its retail sportsbooks

April 24. That’s the date of the launch of the first-ever ESPN Bet retail sportsbook. 

The betting platform named after the Worldwide Leader in Sports confirmed the upcoming launch date at Hollywood Casino Greektown in Detroit, Michigan on Wednesday, per Sports Betting Dime. PENN Entertainment and ESPN Bet representatives first confirmed the launch without a date in February.

The facility will launch one day before the 2024 NFL Draft, which will be held in Detroit from Thursday, April 25 through Saturday, April 27.

Branching out 

ESPN Bet, launched in November 2023, is live as an online sports betting site in 18 states. However, it does not yet have an in-person betting location for customers to frequent.

That will change in a matter of weeks as the company ventures into the realm of retail sports betting through the help of PENN, which operates 32 retail sportsbooks nationwide.

“We’re thrilled to announce that our market-leading sportsbook Hollywood Casino at Greektown will debut as the first ESPN BET-branded sportsbook in our portfolio,” said PENN Entertainment CEO and President, Jay Snowden, in a press release. “Together with ESPN, we look forward to expanding the ESPN BET brand with our premium retail sportsbooks and creating unique omni-channel experiences at key PENN properties across the country.”

ESPN radio personalities will host events at various PENN sportsbooks to entice customers to pay them a visit.

Mike Morrison, ESPN Bet and ESPN Fantasy Vice President, said that the expansion from just online and mobile sports betting to retail wagering as well is part of the company’s vision of growing within the industry. 

“Growing the ESPN BET brand is essential in increasing our market share and ultimately reaching a podium position,” said Morrison. “Our commitment to that shows in a variety of ways from new markets to our first retail presence, and we cannot wait to open ESPN BET inside Hollywood Casino at Greektown for fans in Michigan ahead of some key sporting events.” 

ESPN Bet’s standing in Michigan 

ESPN Bet launched with the goal of acquiring a 10% market hold within its first three years of operations. The early signs are promising, as the platform has found success leveraging the ESPN branding in a market dominated by the “Big Four”—FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Caesars.

ESPN Bet already served as the Greektown casino’s online sports betting partner and found success doing so. The platform reported a $35.8 million handle and $2.1 million in revenue in Michigan in February, both of which were the fourth-highest totals for the month.

That was the company’s third straight month occupying the fourth spot in the Michigan market, trailing FanDuel (MotorCity), DraftKings (Bay Mills), and BetMGM (MGM Grand Detroit). 

FanDuel and DraftKings are very much the in-power legal sports betting sites in America, but the incumbent books are coming under increasing pressure from not only ESPN Bet, but Fanatics as well. 

Now that frenzied period of March Madness betting, highlighted by record-setting viewership and betting totals in the women’s national championship game, is over, the next major event for the sportsbooks will be the NBA playoffs and the NBA Finals.

The MLB is also back in season but still dealing with the aftermath of the shocking betting scandal involving Los Angeles Dodgers megastar Shohei Ohtani, who allegedly had more than $4 million stolen by his interpreter and friend to pay off gambling debts to an illegal bookmaker.