ESPN BET Launch: Promo Code, Sign-Up FAQ, Legal States & More

ESPN BET Launch: Promo Code, Sign-Up FAQ, Legal States & More article feature image

ESPN BET has quickly become the most-downloaded sports app in the country, and Thursday marks the first NFL game since its launch.

The advertising is heavy. The interest is there. The promo is strong (the strongest of its kind in the industry right now). And we can expect plenty more of that throughout the weekend.

You can use ESPN BET promo code ACTNEWS to unlock $250 in bonus bets after betting $1 or more on any game. If you already had a PENN account previously, you'll only get $200. Just login, and your account will transfer over.

If you've already signed up at ESPN BET, there are a few other sportsbooks available in almost all the same states — FanDuel, BetMGM and Caesars.

What's the sign-up process for ESPN BET?

If you didn't have a PENN account previously: The sign-up process is normal — just go to the app store and download the app or sign up on You will likely be asked for driver's license verification, depending on your state. So make sure you sign up with all your real info, or else ESPN BET won't be able to verify your identity and you won't be able to deposit.

Enter code ACTNEWS at checkout, and you'll get $250 in bonus bets.

If you already had a PENN account that transferred over: You'll only get $200, and you don't need to enter a code.

What's the ESPN BET promo code?

The ESPN BET promo code ACTNEWS gives news users $250 in bonus bets after a wager of $1 or more. Our offer is bigger than the offer ESPN is promoting on its own platform, which is just $200.

Bonus bets at ESPN BET work how they do on any other platform — you keep any profit from those wagers, but not the bonus bet itself. The best way to use bonus bets is on plus-money wagers, since you don't keep the stake itself.

So say you put $50 on Ravens RB Keaton Mitchell to score a touchdown at +200 on Thursday Night Football.

  • If he scores, you profit $100 ($50 x 2.0) but you don't keep your $50 bonus bet.
  • If he doesn't score, your bonus bet just goes away.

Our Darren Rovell polled users on Twitter and the biggest reason they'd switch sportsbooks was for the promotion.

What about the deposit match?

ESPN BET has another offer on its platform, advertised front and center — the 100% deposit match up to $1,000.

This is a very different kind of offer than the bonus bets, and we already did a deeper dive on how this bonus works because it requires much more explanation and fine print.

The $1,000 you get back if you do deposit the max is what ESPN BET calls "Eligible Cashback." It's not bonus bets; it's real cash, but it unlocks very slowly, 5% of every dollar wagered.

Here's an example. Say you deposit $1,000 and get the $1,000 match.

  • You place a $100 bet on the Ravens -4.5 against the Bengals. You'll get $5 cash in your account.
  • You place a $200 bet on the Bills -6.5 against the Jets. You get $10 in cash into your account.

You now have $985 in Eligible Cashback left to unlock, and as you continue to wager more, you'll draw down from that balance.

The hard part is you only have 30 days to unlock all your Eligible Cashback due to the wagering requirement. So if you deposited $1,000 and made $10,000 worth of bets, you'll get $500 cash, but the remaining $500 will never turn into cash. If you make $20,000 worth of bets, you'll unlock the full $1,000.

There's also a minimum odds requirement of -200 — so any wager like -500 or -350 won't unlock any cashback. Only wagers like -120, +200, etc., will.

What states is ESPN BET live in?

Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia all have ESPN BET.

ESPN BET is unlikely to launch in any other already-legal sports betting states anytime soon. In New York, for example, the number of licenses is capped right now, so there's not a clear path forward with legislative change. In Connecticut, there are only three sportsbook licenses, currently held by DraftKings, FanDuel and Rush Street (though they're set to abandon that one).

If you live in New York but visit New Jersey or can get there easily, you can still sign up and place your bonus bets, then head back to New York and cash out later. So if you venture to NJ on Thursday night and place four $50 bonus bet wagers on Sunday NFL games, you'll be able to withdraw the money from New York on Sunday.

Just make sure to use all your real info, including your real home address, or else ESPN BET can't verify your identity and you won't be able to deposit.

What does the ESPN BET app look like?

The ESPN BET app is using the same technology as theScore, which PENN bought in 2021 and integrated into its platform in summer of 2023. So if you've used that platform, or an old PENN platform, it's the same experience.

The app UX isn't bad, but there's not much that stands out in a big way compared to its competitors.

  • The odds boosts are usually not worth betting
  • The pricing is about on par with the rest of the industry, with -115 on each side of many props
  • One unique market is "player not to score a touchdown," which isn't available at any mainstream books
  • There are other unique promos like enhanced odds on first TD scorers from 7-8 pm ET before primetime NFL games and overtime protection.

We'll be doing more detailed price testing on ESPN BET over the next few weeks.

What's the interest level in ESPN BET like?

If app store usage is any indication, pretty strong.

The ESPN BET app has risen to the top of the app store for its own search terms after being buried during launch on Tuesday. It now has 2,200+ reviews, at 4.9 stars, and has been ranked as the No. 1 app in the "free" category (ahead of Temu and ChatGPT).

ESPN BET has been advertised heavily on social media, with key personalities like Scott Van Pelt and Elle Duncan in the creative.

We haven't seen huge integrations on ESPN's broadcasts. Studio shows have mentioned it plenty — particularly Get Up, since Mike Greenberg had a custom odds boost on Wednesday. So maybe we'll get a bigger taste of how ESPN can use its media engine to push ESPN BET on the Monday Night Football game between the Eagles and Chiefs.

PENN Entertainment agreed to license the ESPN brand for 10 years at $1.5 billion this summer and launched on Nov. 14.

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