ESPN BET’s First Retail Sportsbook To Launch At Greektown In Time For NFL Draft

Written By Drew Ellis on February 15, 2024 - Last Updated on April 2, 2024
Artist's drawing of what the ESPN BET retail sportsbook will look like when it opens in the Hollywood Casino at Greektown facility in Detroit. The rebranded sportsbook will be open in time for the NFL Draft being held in Detroit in April.

ESPN BET will be launching its first retail sportsbook in Michigan.

PENN Entertainment announced the move during its 2023 Q4 presentation. ESPN BET Sportsbook will replace what was formerly Barstool Sportsbook inside Hollywood Casino at Greektown.

The move is slated to coincide with the NFL Draft when it takes place in Detroit from April 25-27.

ESPN BET Sportsbook to replace Barstool

The ESPN BET retail sportsbook has been a predictable development since the PENN partnership with ESPN was announced in August.

PENN Entertainment elected to cut ties with Barstool Sports after being paired up since the launch of online gambling in Michigan back in January of 2021.

As part of the partnership, Hollywood Casino at Greektown opened up a retail Barstool Sportsbook in December 2020.

Currently just called “The Sportsbook,” the venue inside Greektown features a 30’ video wall with odds ticker, 25 HDTVs and 40 betting kiosks. It also is a full-service bar and restaurant to make for a full sports-viewing experience.

“Growing the ESPN BET brand is essential in increasing our market share and ultimately reaching a podium position. Our commitment to that shows in a variety of ways from new markets to our first retail presence, and we cannot wait to open ESPN BET inside Hollywood Casino at Greektown for fans in Michigan ahead of some key sporting events,” Mike Morrison, Vice President ESPN Bet, said in a press release.

The retail sportsbook is located on the second floor of Hollywood Casino at Greektown, at the top of the grand staircase.

The rendered picture of what ESPN BET will look like has a few adjustments to its current look. The betting kiosks will be moved to line the perimeter of the entrance to the lounge.

Retail launch coinciding with NFL Draft in Detroit

While ESPN didn’t initially take on the retail sportsbook label at Greektown, timing it up with the NFL Draft makes sense.

Detroit was awarded the 2024 NFL Draft back in March of 2022. It’s one of the biggest sporting events to ever be awarded to the city and is sure to draw in football fans from all over the country.

The 2024 NFL Draft takes place April 25-27 and entry to the event will be free.

Detroit’s downtown area will play host throughout the draft weekend, with Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza being the featured locations. Both spots are less than one mile from Hollywood Casino at Greektown.

PENN hopes to create a unique omni-channel experience with ESPN Events with its sportsbook launch. That includes bringing in special VIP talent and clients to the venue for the NFL Draft.

It was also noted that ESPN regional radio talent will be hosting events throughout the year in the ESPN BET retail sportsbook once it opens.

Greektown sportsbook nearing $350 million in handle

Over its lifetime, the retail sportsbook at Hollywood Casino at Greektown has led the way for the three Detroit casinos.

It has taken $349.4 million in wagers since launching in March of 2020.

By comparison, the retail sportsbook at MotorCity Casino (FanDuel) has $273 million in lifetime wagers. The sportsbook at MGM Grand Detroit (BetMGM) has $288.6 million in wagers.

The ESPN partnership has already provided a boost to the Michigan online sportsbook business for PENN. Since launching on Nov. 14, PENN has seen consecutive months of record online handle in November and December of 2023, respectively.

November saw $49.9 million in handle with $6.1 million in revenue. December saw $55.2 million in handle with $5.7 million in revenue.

It should be noted that both months saw a combined $14.2 million in adjusted gross revenue loss due to sign-up promotions and offers with ESPN BET’s launch.

Photo by PENN Entertainment
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of He was the former Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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