ESPN Bet Sportsbook Opens at Hollywood Casino, Completing Penn’s Michigan Brand Synergy

Penn Entertainment’s first ESPN Bet-branded brick-and-mortar sportsbook opened this week at its Hollywood Casino at Greektown in downtown Detroit. The move makes Michigan the first state where Penn’s online and retail businesses operate under the same casino and sportsbook brands.

Penn left previous betting partner, Barstool, behind for a 10-year deal with ESPN last August after lower-than-expected earnings and controversies surrounding Barstool founder and personality Dave Portnoy.

In a February release announcing the sportsbook rebrand, Penn CEO and president Jay Snowden shared excitement for the shift.

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. 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.

Higher Revenues Follow Hollywood, ESPN Rebrands

Previously operating under the Barstool name, Penn rebranded its online sports betting platform to ESPN Bet in 18 states—including Michigan—last November. At the same time, Penn also rebranded its online casino from Barstool to Hollywood Casino in Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia—everywhere it holds a license.

In Michigan, Penn’s online casino revenues hit a record high of $6,436,300 in December 2023, nearly double its October win in the first full month of operation post-Hollywood shift. While the improvement softened ever-so-slightly in 2024, Penn’s average annual growth in Michigan went from -25% before the brand change to +34% after.

The impact on Penn’s revenue in Michigan is evident beginning November 2023 when the rebranding took place.
MonthRevenueAnnual Change
March 2023$4,328,146-17.10%
April 2023$3,782,253-27.30%
May 2023$3,334,218-12.60%
June 2023$3,548,175-16.40%
July 2023$3,568,317-18.80%
August 2023$2,223,862-43.00%
September 2023$2,633,003-26.00%
October 2023$3,319,682-27.90%
November 2023$4,125,571-3.40%
December 2023$6,436,30050.90%
January 2024$5,092,33723.20%
February 2024$4,869,91841.40%
March 2024$5,247,71721.20%

According to Bloomberg, ESPN Bet has also seen online revenue increases in sports betting-only states since the move away from Barstool.

Sportsbook Opening Aligns with Detroit NFL Draft

With the opening of ESPN Bet Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino at Greektown, Penn has established its first truly omnichannel destination.

The 4,500-square-foot sportsbook on the casino’s top floor offers guests “high-tech” kiosks, big-screen TVs, a 30′ video wall, and “elevated” food and drink.

Opening while the NFL Draft is happening in Detroit is particularly thrilling, said Hollywood’s general manager, John Drake, in ESPN’s opening announcement.

This is an exciting week to debut PENN’s first physical ESPN BET sportsbook as the city of Detroit hosts the NFL Draft and its festivities. Bringing ESPN BET to Hollywood Greektown combines PENN’s premier sports media and sports betting offerings to create an amazing atmosphere for fans to watch and bet on sports. To celebrate the opening, we’re thrilled to host ESPN talent and programming at our property throughout the week.

ESPN Bet and ESPN Fantasy VP Mike Morrison also expressed excitement for the new sportsbook.

We’re thrilled to open the first ESPN BET retail location in Detroit and become part of a community of deeply passionate sports fans. We want fans to come embrace a first-class betting experience and we’re excited to showcase the ESPN BET brand in a contemporary space.

About the Author

Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil (she/they) is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor, and a lead writer at Bonus. Here she focuses on news relevant to online casinos, while specializing in responsible gambling coverage, legislative developments, gambling regulations, and industry-related legal fights.
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