One of America’s largest gaming operators is teaming up with a professional sports league.
PENN Entertainment has secured a partnership with the NHL, making the gaming and entertainment giant an official sports betting partner of the league. The deal includes PENN’s online betting brands theScore Bet and ESPN BET, which launched operations on Nov. 14.
“There’s definite excitement in being one of the first leagues to partner with ESPN BET and PENN Entertainment,” said NHL vice president of business development Jason Jazayeri in a statement. “From day one we’ve said our media rights deal with ESPN and The Walt Disney Company has been a big win for our fans and our league, and this new collaboration is further testament to the value of our partnership.”
As part of the deal, ESPN BET and theScore Bet have gained access to PENN media and marketing integrations across NHL programming and premium league experiences. The two betting operators have also gained access to NHL intellectual property rights. The partnership begins immediately and spans across all league events, including the Stanley Cup playoffs.
ESPN BET, which is a rebrand of Barstool Sportsbook, is available in 17 jurisdictions across the U.S. and is powered by PENN’s proprietary in-house technology. The launch of ESPN BET came after PENN and Disney-owned ESPN secured a $2 billion deal, which led to PENN parting ways with Barstool for $1. PENN has also established a presence in Canada through theScore Bet, which offers legal sports betting throughout Ontario — Canada’s most populous province.
Since its launch, ESPN BET has seen its app downloaded more than 1.2 million times, according to analysts with investment bank Jefferies, including 235,000 downloads on day one.
Despite the good reception, ESPN BET is facing recent scrutiny for house rules that declare if one bet pushes in a parlay then the entire bet is voided instead of honoring other winning legs. The rule is contrary to other sportsbooks and has caused concern among users of the platform.