Out with the old and in with the new. Barstool Sportsbook is officially leaving the gaming industry, as PENN Entertainment is welcoming ESPN Bet to Pennsylvania today. With the launch of ESPN Bet, Hollywood Casino PA will be discontinued next month. It will be accessible only through the ESPN Bet app moving forward.
The Keystone State will go down to 19 PA online casinos. However, the way customers access Hollywood’s online casino is going to change.
ESPN Bet launch shifts Pennsylvania online casino market
PENN Entertainment is expected to launch ESPN Bet today, which is going to change the online casino landscape in Pennsylvania.
Dan Sabreen, PENN Entertainment’s VP of Communications, told PlayPennsylvania that Hollywood Casino PA will be integrated into the ESPN Bet app immediately.
Hollywood Casino PA has a website and a standalone app in Pennsylvania. The ESPN Bet debut changes how customers can access the casino going forward. Hollywood had this message on its website:
“HollywoodCasino.com will be discontinued as of December 14, 2023. Beginning November 14, 2023, no new deposits will be accepted.”
After Dec. 14, the website and app will be discontinued. The only way to access Hollywood’s online casino will be to download ESPN Bet.
PENN Entertainment CEO, Jay Snowden, explained the process during the company’s Q2 2023 earnings call in August:
“If you’re in the state of Pennsylvania, for example, and you’re within ESPN Bet betting on sports, you’ll be able to wager by clicking on the Casino icon and go to Hollywood Casino seamlessly within the same app and platform the way that you can today between Barstool Sportsbook and Barstool iCasino.”
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Other FAQs about Hollywood Casino PA shutdown
After today, Hollywood Casino PA is no longer accepting deposits, which means customers must gamble with what they have in their wallets already. Wagers can be placed up until Dec. 11, when all forms of online casino betting are going to be suspended prior to the shutdown on Dec. 14.
Customers will not be able to transfer funds into the new platform, which will be accessible through ESPN Bet. Hollywood is encouraging customers to withdraw prior to Dec. 14. However, a check will be mailed to the registered address if a customer does not withdraw.
Players will have to make a new account on ESPN Bet’s platform to access the online casino.
Details surrounding the ESPN Bet PA online sports betting launch
Not only did ESPN affect the online casino market, obviously, it also greatly impacted the PA online sports betting industry, too.
The same rules apply to access ESPN Bet. Customers will need to download the app and create a new account to access the sportsbook.
Though PENN Entertainment split with Barstool and partnered with ESPN in August, Snowden opted to launch in the middle of the football season instead of as soon as possible. He explained his reasoning during a Q3 2023 earnings call earlier this month:
“Let’s make sure that the product is first class. When we launch, you have one chance to make a first impression. We had a number of enhancements to the app that we wanted to make in advance of launch, which we’ve done. And we wanted the reskin to really fill all things ESPN and ESPN Bet by the time we went live. We’ve had time to do them.”
ESPN Bet is going to be up against stiff competition. FanDuel Sportsbook PA and DraftKings Sportsbook PA are the clear market leaders within the state. Combined, both apps command 65.8% of the state’s total bets. Then there are multiple operators that are competing in a second tier of market share.
According to a Q2 2023 presentation, PENN Entertainment is expecting ESPN Bet to be between the 10-20% range in national market share. Snowden isn’t expecting less, he said in August:
“We’re not doing this deal to be 4% or 5% market share players. That’s not going to be acceptable for us. It’s not going to be acceptable for ESPN. And so, you should assume if those are the ranges you’re in, that’s not going to work out long term.”
ESPN Bet will have one full month of an NFL regular season slate in December. We’ll see in January how the new sportsbook fared in Pennsylvania.