5 Ways the University of Nevada Las Vegas Influences the GemdiscoPH Bonus Gambling Industry
Since the Silver State legalized gambling in 1931, millions of people hailing from every corner of the globe have made their way to Las Vegas, Nevada, to enjoy an oasis of legalized casinos, card rooms, and slot parlors.
From the original casinos that cropped up along Fremont Street in the Downtown district, to the world-famous lineup found on the Vegas Strip, casino gambling helped turn Las Vegas from a dusty desert outpost into an iconic destination.
Today, tourism generated by glittering casino resorts generate $70 billion in economic impact for the city, including nearly 500,000 jobs to prop up the local economy. Those numbers come from the Nevada Resort Association’s Gaming Fact Book, which provides an annual survey of the hospitality and gambling industry’s contributions.
UNLV has gone “all in” when it comes to its influence on Las Vegas’ centerpiece attraction. Rather than shy away from a scene, which many academics might view as unseemly, UNLV students have embraced their ability to help shape the evolution of the casino industry in Las Vegas.
After speaking with several professors, administrators, and students working hard within their programs, I was simply blown away by what UNLV continues to teach.
With that in mind, I’d like to let readers explore five of the ways UNLV influences the gambling industry in 2019 and beyond.
1 – UNLV’s Gaming Innovation Course Teaches the Next Generation of Casino Game Designers
As part of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute (IGI), which you’ll learn more about in the next entry, one of the casino gambling industry’s most important contributors serves as a mentor to aspiring game designers.
After earning his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton, Mark Yoseloff went on to found a series of software and tech companies that shook up their respective industries.
Yoseloff eventually entered the casino design game, creating new slot machines for Bally before moving on to become the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Shuffle Master.
During his tenure heading up Shuffle Master, Yoseloff secured more than 100 patents related to new casino table games, slot and video poker machine technology, and equipment used by dealers.
If you’ve ever played Mississippi Stud Poker at a Las Vegas casino, you can thank Yoseloff and his brilliant mind for creating the entertaining poker-based table game.
Five years after his retirement in 2009, Yoseloff arrived at UNLV with yet another grand vision in mind, teaching the next class of casino game designers.
In its first year as a full-year course, students enrolled in the Gaming Innovation Program taught by Yoseloff produced 12 new casino game concepts deemed worthy of patent protection. Yoseloff explained the impetus behind turning casino game design into a dedicated course.
“The course is taught by Yoseloff and by guest lecturers drawn from the Las Vegas casino industry – experts on such aspects of gaming as commercialization of ideas, the patent process, and successful business strategies.
Each semester culminates a competition, where students present their ideas to a panel of judges made up of faculty and gaming industry execs. The best ideas win cash prizes. Under the wing of Yoseloff, students also get a chance to present their ideas to executives in a position to buy them.”
Among the new games conjured up under Yoseloff’s instruction by UNLV students are Flip Card Blackjack, Easy Jack, 888 Baccarat, Color War, Casino Dominoes, and Line ‘Em Up.
All told, more than 120 students have helped secure 45 patents for new games via UNLV’s Gaming Innovation Program.
2 – UNLV’s International Gaming Institute (IGI) Publishes Important Research Papers
As mentioned up above, the Gaming Innovation Program operates within UNLV’s International Gaming Institute (IGI). When governments, regulators, and private enterprises with a vested interest in the gambling industry have serious questions, they send for the scholars at IGI.
With the world’s leading scholars of gambling-related study working under the same roof, IGI regularly advises states considering sports betting legislation, commercial casino operators, and other major industry stakeholders.
The IGI Executive Development Program (EDP) is considered the Ivy League for aspiring management executives, arming students with the knowledge they need to climb the corporate casino ladder.
And IGI isn’t content to craft the collegiate space either, what with its Young Executive Scholars (YES) program providing UNLV access to the brightest high school students within the Clark County School District (CCSD).
3 – UNLV’s International Center for Gaming Regulation (ICGR) Helps Governments Set Policy
Another component of IGI which deserves its own entry here is the International Center for Gaming Regulation (ICGR), a division of the prestigious William S. Boyd School of Law.
The ICGR—which hosts a series of year-round seminars, workshops, and other programs—analyzes current gaming policies and help improve their practices.
When you consider the swift expansion of legalized sports betting since May of 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on the industry outside of Nevada, the ICGR’s work becomes more relevant by the day.
Thus far, 11 states (Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Arkansas, New York, Iowa, and Oregon) have launched both legal online sportsbooks and brick and mortar bookies.
And that doesn’t even cover the dozens of other states with legislatures currently considering similar bills.
Knowing that Nevada has had a successful legal sports betting industry in place for several decades, regulators from these states use the ICGR as a clearinghouse for consolidating the latest practices, policy agendas, and regulatory guidelines.
How to effectively tax gross gaming revenue without hindering development, which procedures to use when examining operators applying for gaming licenses, and the most effective methods of dealing with federal oversight fall directly under the ICGR’s academic purview at UNLV.
4 – UNLV’s Gaming Press Serves as the World’s Foremost Publisher of Academic Gambling-Themed Literature
When regulators in any of those sports betting legal states mentioned earlier want to brush up on their industry knowledge, they’ll likely reach for a copy of Sports Wagering in America: Policies, Economics, and Regulation.
Written by UNLV alumni and gaming law professor Anthony Cabot, along with Keith Miller of Drake University, the authors describe their recently published research as follows:
“This book first provides a detailed explanation of the scope and economics of the sports wagering industry and a description of how sportsbooks operate. It then describes the evolving legal landscape for sports wagering in the U.S., culminating in the Supreme Court case that considered New Jersey’s challenge to the federal law that has limited sports betting to the state of Nevada.
With this foundation, the book turns to an examination of the range of issues that legislators and regulators must consider in establishing regulated sports wagering, such as the need to protect the integrity of sporting events from corruption by criminal elements.”
5 – UNLV’s International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking
Every three years from 1974 onward, the greatest minds in the field of gaming gather to take part in the UNLV International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking (ICGRT). This conference includes academics, industry stakeholders, regulatory officials, and even professional gamblers.
The ICGRT is the brainchild of the late Dr. William Eadington. During his four decades at UNLV, Eadington founded not only the ICGRT, but the UNLV Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming (ISGCG) as well.
In 2011, Eadington was inducted into the American Gaming Association (AGA) Hall of Fame, joining fellow Nevada gambling industry luminaries like Steve Wynn and William Harrah.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., who serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of the AGA, commemorated the achievement by crediting Eadington as the founding father of gambling-focused academic research.
The triennial ICGRT ranks right up there with the most lasting elements of Eadington’s legacy, attracting over 550 attendees from 34 countries in its latest iteration this year.
The ICGRT isn’t limited to the upper crust of gambling academia by any means. The conference invites all students, scholars, authors, and laymen gamblers to attend and present their research and data.
The scope of that research is fair game, too, as the ICGRT covers everything from the economic impact of regulated (and unregulated) gambling, the mathematics of casino game theory, and the psychology inherent to players afflicted by addictive traits.
By contributing to the gambling industry in such diverse and meaningful ways, UNLV does its part (and more) to ensure that the surrounding city’s economic engine remains alive and well for another century of legal casino gambling.
As a gambling man at heart, and a scholar by trade, I truly believe Las Vegas couldn’t have asked for a better university to represent its interests.