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ESPN Bet, a rebranded sports gambling app from Penn Entertainment, is almost here

NEW YORK (AP) — ESPN Bet, a rebranded sports-gambling app owned by Penn Entertainment, is set to launch Tuesday.

Penn signed a $1.5 billion deal with ESPN for rights to the sports media giant’s name in August. Under the agreement, Penn will operate ESPN Bet while ESPN promotes the app across its online and broadcast platforms.

It’s unclear when ESPN Bet will officially be available to download. A Penn spokesperson said the app is planned to launch Tuesday afternoon, but did not provide a specific time.

ESPN Bet is set to go live in 17 states — Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Under August’s agreement, Penn’s rights to the ESPN brand will initially run for a decade with the option of extension for another 10 years. In addition to the $1.5 billion licensing deal, Penn also said it would grant ESPN rights worth about $500 million to purchase shares in Penn.

ESPN Bet is a rebranding of an existing sports-betting app, the online Barstool Sportsbook. Also in August, Penn said it sold Barstool Sports back to its founder Dave Portnoy.

The upcoming launch of ESPN Bet could take Walt Disney Co.-owned ESPN into uncharted waters. Disney is fiercely protective of its family-friendly image, not typically associated with the world of sports gambling.

At the time of August’s agreement, ESPN said it will use its platforms “to educate sports fans on responsible gaming” — for instance by continuing to cover the sports betting industry with “journalistic integrity,” creating a “responsible gaming” committee within the company and developing marketing guidelines that “safeguard” fans.

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