ESPN has set strict guidelines ahead of the launch of ESPN BET on November 14 to ensure the integrity of its brand and journalistic operations. The company, with 5,000 employees, released internal guidelines on November 10 to prevent the potential misuse of information, particularly by employees designated as “Insiders” or “Reporters.” This includes high-profile figures such as Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski, who are prohibited from placing, soliciting, or facilitating any bets on the leagues they cover, such as the NFL and NBA.
The guidelines aim to prevent the use of confidential information for betting purposes, covering a wide range of potential insider knowledge, including player injuries, officials’ decisions, and management insights. It also extends to all ESPN employees, from front-facing talents to production personnel and journalists working both on and off-site. The company is taking a stringent stance on preventing any potential misuse of information by its employees.
Additionally, ESPN’s guidelines prohibit executives managing business relationships with leagues from betting on leagues or properties they handle on a day-to-day basis. The company urges all employees to avoid participating in any form of illegal betting. Certain types of bets, such as awards votes, player personnel decisions, and draft picks, are singled out for extra caution. ESPN does not want its employees, particularly those with potentially relevant confidential information, to influence or participate in these types of wagers.
The 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. While ESPN declined to comment specifically on the guidelines, it is evident 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, with the partnership aiming 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.