Apr. 16, 2024


The resulting research will provide insights into the impact of responsible gambling messages used by media in covering the global sports wagering and gaming industry.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – University of Nevada, Las Vegas International Gaming Institute (IGI) is excited to announce the recipients of the 2024 ESPN Research Fellowships. This year's selection showcases a diverse group of scholars whose innovative project proposals will be pivotal in advancing knowledge on responsible gambling messaging in sports media.

Fellowships have been awarded to:

Dr. Hannah Borenstein, Harper-Schmidt Postdoctoral Fellow and Collegiate Assistant Teaching Professor at The University of Chicago;

Mr. Chance Dow, a Master’s student at the University of Memphis’ Tennessee Institute of Gambling Education and Research;

Dr. Eric R. Louderback, Research and Evaluation Scientist in the Division on Addiction at Harvard Medical School; and,

Dr. Brian Petrotta, Assistant Professor of Sport Media and Communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Dr. Travis Bell, Associate Professor of Digital and Sports Media at the University of South Florida.

Each of the Fellowship proposals address unique facets of responsible gambling messaging in sports media. As the intersection between sports and gambling continues to evolve, the work of these scholars is essential in promoting healthy gambling practices and awareness.

These projects will provide insights into practical strategies that policy-makers and the industry can adopt to help safeguard the wellbeing of sports enthusiasts and the public at large.

Dr. Borenstein will explore the relatively untapped domain of track and field and marathon running. Borenstein’s investigation focuses on the implications of integrating gambling into mainstream broadcasting and spectating of these sports.

Mr. Dow will investigate the nuances of gendered gambling and responsible gambling. Dow’s study examines how to enhance the effectiveness of responsible gambling messages, particularly among college student populations.

Dr. Louderback will analyze video-based sports gambling advertisements on social media. Louderback’s research looks at how responsible gambling messages influence advertisement effectiveness and demonstrates the use of publicly available social media data in advancing knowledge in responsible gambling.

Dr. Petrotta and Dr. Bell will analyze actual gambling broadcasts during March Madness competitions. The study explores how responsible gambling messages are conveyed and will provide crucial insights into real-world practices during live sports broadcasts.

“IGI is tremendously excited about these projects. A key goal of this initiative is to support innovative and impactful research to better understand the rapidly changing global sports and betting environment.'' said Dr. Brett Abarbanel, Executive Director of IGI. “This research represents a broad range of perspectives on how gambling is represented in sports media and holds important implications for all gambling stakeholders.”

“ESPN is proud to work with IGI to advance responsible gaming standards through this comprehensive research,” said Kevin Martinez, Vice President of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “These diverse research projects will help to inform how the industry can continue to respond to and improve upon responsible gaming practices in the sports entertainment ecosystem.”

Each research Fellowship lasts for a duration of six (6) months. The results of the research will be featured in an IGI webinar in early 2025. 

About IGI

For more than 30 years, UNLV International Gaming Institute (IGI) has provided research-based solutions, cutting-edge insights, and executive education to the global gaming and gambling industry. With expertise in areas like gambling and hospitality innovation, regulation and policy, sports, games, and esports, and responsible gambling, IGI has been called upon to provide its research to more than 50 jurisdictions across the globe. In addition to these offerings, IGI proudly emphasizes diversity and community outreach through initiatives like the Young Executive Scholars Hospitality & Tourism Program (YES), which gives high schoolers a behind-the-scenes look at the career and educational opportunities that the hospitality industry provides.

To learn more about the IGI, please visit https://www.unlv.edu/igi.