November 13, 2023 3 min read


ESPN BET Launches with Strict Betting Guidelines for Employees

The online sportsbook is the result of a landmark 10-year, $2 billion partnership with PENN Entertainment Inc., marking ESPN's foray into the lucrative world of legal sports betting

Ahead of the launch of ESPN BET on November 14, sports media giant ESPN has unveiled strict guidelines to ensure the integrity of its brand and journalistic operations. 

The New ESPN Guidelines Strive to Safeguard Against Information Misuse

ESPN is leaving no stone unturned in preventing any potential misuse of information by its employees, particularly those designated as “Insiders” or “Reporters.” The guidelines, released internally on November 10, outline the rules for ESPN’s 5,000 employees, explicitly stating that insiders like Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski are prohibited from placing, soliciting, or facilitating any bets on the leagues they cover, such as the NFL and NBA.

The company is taking extra precautions to prevent the use of confidential information for betting purposes, covering a range of potential insider knowledge, including player injuries, officials’ decisions, and management insights. This extends to all ESPN employees, from front-facing talents to production personnel and journalists working both on and off-site.

ESPN’s stringent stance also extends to executives managing business relationships with leagues. The guidelines explicitly forbid betting on leagues or properties they handle on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, the company urges all employees to avoid participating in any form of illegal betting.

ESPN’s Guidelines Unveil Restrictions on Awards, Personnel Decisions, and Draft Picks

Certain types of bets are singled out for extra caution, such as awards votes (e.g., league MVPs), player personnel decisions, and draft picks. ESPN does not want its employees, particularly those with potentially relevant confidential information, to influence or participate in these types of wagers.

These guidelines were developed in alignment with The Walt Disney Company’s Standards of Business Conduct and may see updates once ESPN BET goes live in 17 US states on November 14. The network has already initiated promotional efforts for ESPN BET, with anchor Scott Van Pelt leading the way.

While ESPN declined to comment specifically on the guidelines, it is clear that the company is taking proactive measures to ensure the separation of its journalistic enterprise from the operations of the sportsbook. The memo explicitly states that no story should be reported, delayed, influenced, or withheld with the intention of impacting betting lines.

In August, ESPN and Penn Entertainment joined forces to launch ESPN BET, transforming the existing Barstool Sportsbook into an exclusive sportsbook deeply integrated into ESPN’s programming. The partnership, accompanied by a $1.5 billion cash infusion from Penn Entertainment to ESPN, aims to create a seamless sports betting experience for fans and capitalize on the growing legal sports betting market in the United States. The collaboration signifies ESPN’s strategic entry into the sports gaming arena, leveraging its platform for comprehensive gaming industry coverage and betting-oriented programming.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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