Why Isn’t ESPN BET In New York or Florida?

Why Isn’t ESPN BET In New York or Florida? article feature image

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ESPN BET is now live! Use ESPN BET promo code TANBONUS to get $250 in bonus bets after any first wager.

ESPN BET launched in 17 states on Tuesday, but users in perhaps the two most important legal states in the country won't see the platform available on their phones. And they likely won't be in those states anytime soon, if ever.

The good news is that even if you don't live in a legal ESPN BET state, you can travel to a nearby state and sign up there and claim the bonus with promo code TANBONUS.

If you're in New York City, just hop across the river to New Jersey. In Southern California? Arizona's your closest option. Florida is a bit of a drive from anywhere, unfortunately.

So why isn't ESPN BET going to be in New York or Florida?

The sportsbook will take over existing licensing deals PENN Entertainment — the operators of ESPN BET — had with states. That includes 17 of them: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

But in New York, PENN lost out when the state launched in Jan. 2022. Only eight licenses were issued: two to market leaders FanDuel and DraftKings, and another six to BetMGM, Caesars, WynnBet, PointsBet, Resorts World and Bally Bet.

In fact, PointsBet's existing license in New York — and other states — was a part of the reason Fanatics acquired the company earlier this year for $225 million.

That finite number of New York licenses can only be increased through legislative approval, which would require a lengthy lobbying process for no guarantees. As of now, there's no political or economic momentum toward increasing the number of licenses in the state.

So, ESPN BET won't launch in New York, by far the largest state in the United States in handle. In October, New York became the first state to ever register more than $2 billion in a calendar month.

Meanwhile, in Florida, Hard Rock — owned by the Seminole Tribe — is afforded a monopoly over online sports betting in the state. After a lengthy, two-year litigation battle, Hard Rock Sportsbook launched again earlier this month.

And already, the re-launching of Florida sports betting has yielded some outsized bets.

On Wednesday, a bettor at the sportsbook lost over $1.5 million on two separate wagers on Kent State football, a 1-8 team. Kent State lost to Bowling Green 49-19. Another Florida bettor won $5.5 million on a $500,000 parlay on Texans vs. Bengals on Sunday. 

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