November 21, 2023 3 min read


ESPN Bet Launch Propels Penn Entertainment’s Stock

The Bank of America upgraded its rating for Penn's stock from neutral to buy as of Monday, less than a week after ESPN Bet's launch

Last week marked the debut of ESPN Bet, the newly rebranded sports gaming app owned by Penn Entertainment. The new sports gambling app launched for 17 US states, entering important markets such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland and Michigan, among others. The latest launch comes after a $1.5 billion deal announced between Penn Entertainment and ESPN, granting the gaming company the permit to use the name for the sports gambling app for the next decade.

The recent launch of ESPN Bet immediately impacted positively the stock of the leading gaming and entertainment company. On Monday, the Bank of America upgraded the rating for Penn’s stock from neutral to buy. Shaun Kelley, the leading analyst for Bank of America, highlighted the positive change and spoke about the strong launch of ESPN Bet across the country.

In a note to clients, he explained that the new sports gambling app is gaining popularity quickly, moving its way up charts and reaching more clients. Kelley outlined that ESPN Bet has been among the top apps on the Apple store since Tuesday last week. Moreover, he outlined that the sports gaming app has accumulated a 4.8 rating on the App Store along with a staggering 865,000 downloads.

ESPN Bet is dominating initial download activity and charts, proving it is cutting through to customers. ESPN Bet has been #1 or #2 of all free apps on the iOS store since last Tuesday, with 865K cumulative downloads and a 4.8 app store rating, even without data from NFL Sunday.

Shaun Kelley, analyst for Bank of America

Penn’s Stock Price Target Increases

The upgrade in Penn’s casino stock from neutral to buy by Bank of America undoubtedly underlines the expected growth of ESPN Bet and highlights its successful launch. When it comes to the price target, it increased from $27 to $30 as of Monday. Additionally, as of Monday, Penn Entertainment’s stock was more than 7% higher.

According to Kelley, ESPN Bet “creates an asymmetric risk-reward.” He explained that the app performed much stronger than expected when it came to initial downloads. Moreover, Kelley pointed out that its promotional offers showed discipline. Finally, he highlighted the importance of Penn’s core gaming business which demonstrated stable third quarter earnings.

While ESPN Bet is just penetrating the regulated gambling sector, it is up against fierce competition in the face of giants such as DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars, among other sportsbooks that have already established their presence in different states across the country.

Yet, ESPN Bet anticipates offering a one-stop-shop experience for sports fans and bettors alike, offering not only betting options but highlights, scores and stories, a move that is likely going to help it engage with new customers.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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