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ESPN BET’s $1,000 Deposit Match

Here's how much you need to deposit – and wager – in order to get $1,000 of real money.

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ESPN BET’s $1,000 Deposit Match

To entice consumers to sign up for its online sportsbook ESPN BET, which launched last week, ESPN has been promoting a $1,000 deposit match.

But before you create an ESPN BET account and deposit $1,000 thinking that ESPN will match that amount, you need to read the fine print under the promotion on the ESPN BET website. Only there will you learn what ESPN is actually offering:

Promotion Offer: Players who make their first time deposit will receive a 100% match on the deposit, up to $1,000, paid in Eligible Cashback. Eligible Cashback is a non-wagerable bonus balance which converts to withdrawable cash at a rate specified herein through eligible cash wagers.

And as ESPN discloses in the fine print, the cashback rate on eligible sportsbook wagers is 5 percent. That means that consumers would need to deposit and wager $20,000 in order to get $1,000 of real money from the “deposit match.” (Whether bettors win or lose doesn’t seem to matter.) And as ESPN further reveals in the fine print, users only have 30 days to turn “eligible cashback” into real cash.

But ESPN doesn’t do the math for consumers. In fact, ESPN only provides an example of how much users would need to wager in order for the company to match their first deposit in the full terms of the promotion (which is referenced in the “How It Works” section of the fine print but is only linked at the bottom of the page):

a $10 Eligible Cashback balance with a 5% cashback rate would require the patron to wager a total of $200 cash in order to unlock the full $10 cashback (5% of $200 in total cash wagered).

ESPN also only discloses in the full terms that, “Eligible Cashback converted to real cash on Sportsbook is restricted to wagers with odds greater than -200 (Example -110, +100, +200),” which prevents users from betting some heavy favorites.

The bottom line

While a reasonable consumer might interpret the promotion as an offer to match their first cash deposit up to $1,000, that’s not what ESPN is actually offering.

And with regard to the slew of restrictions in the fine print and in the full terms of the promotion, the FTC requires that advertisers “clearly and conspicuously” disclose important information to consumers, saying, What the headline giveth, the footnote cannot taketh away. reached out to ESPN for comment. Check back for updates.

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