UNLV International Center for Gaming Regulation Appoints Its First Two Research Fellows

Dec. 2, 2016

Earlier this year, in support of its research mission and goal of providing actionable intelligence to gaming regulators worldwide, UNLV’s International Center for Gaming Regulation (ICGR) launched its first fellowship program.

The ICGR—a partnership between the International Gaming Institute (IGI) and the William S. Boyd School of Law—awarded Melissa Rorie, assistant professor in UNLV’s Department of Criminal Justice, and Simon Planzer, a lecturer in law at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, with its first fellowship positions.

“I am convinced that the two research projects that have been selected will contribute significantly to the ICGR’s objective of promoting excellence in gaming regulation around the world,” said Andre Wilsenach, ICGR’s executive director.

The ICGR sent out its initial call this May for proposals on research projects centered around gaming regulation—including such topics as gaming policy, gaming law, licensing, compliance, and/or gaming operations—and specifically encouraged proposals positioned to provide immediate value to regulators making key decisions in all areas of gaming. Applications for these academic research fellowships were accepted through June. The ICGR’s Academic Advisory Council double-blind peer reviewed submissions on their significance and impact to the regulatory community, the quality and rigor of the research plan proposed, and more.

Over the course of a period no greater than six months, the ICGR will provide up to $20,000 apiece to Rorie and Planzer in support of their research projects. Each fellow will produce a white paper with the goal of sparking further discussion and debate among regulators around the world on regulatory best practices. The ICGR anticipates that other deliverables (e.g., journal publications, conference presentations, and policy efforts) will also develop as a result of these fellowships.

Melissa Rorie’s research

From the time she joined UNLV in 2013, Melissa Rorie has focused her efforts on collecting data from environmental regulators and professionals. She has published several scholarly articles on environmental offending, corporate crime, and regulation.

Rorie will continue her data-collection work through her ICGR fellowship, this time centering her research more specifically on regulatory agencies and environments in Nevada and New Jersey. She will compare the regulatory processes in the two states to determine how regulators in these jurisdictions have navigated the legalization of gaming.

More specifically, Rorie’s study will examine how regulators balanced protecting the public while at the same time promoting a revenue-generating industry that would benefit their respective states. She will explore how economic recessions or booms, public pressures, market competition, and legislative changes have shifted this delicate balance and influenced regulatory strategies. Her research will subsequently inform and promote a more balanced, consistent, proportional, and efficient approach to enforcement in the future.

"Through an increased understanding of regulatory environments, I hope to provide practical and evidence-based suggestions for regulators as they work to balance the interests of industry with those of the state," Rorie said.

Rorie’s data will also be utilized in a larger, international comparative study that includes the Netherlands.

Simon Planzer’s research

As an alumnus of the College of Europe, the Pan-European institution, it’s no surprise that Simon Planzer’s teaching, research, and advising extends beyond gaming law to European Union (EU) law and the regulation of lifestyle risks. Planzer has also worked at the Institute of European and International Business Law at the University of St. Gallen, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Court in Luxembourg, the legal service of the EFTA Secretariat in Brussels, Harvard Law School and the Division on Addiction at Harvard Medical School, and the European University Institute in Florence.

Planzer will research EU anti-money laundering (AML) directives through his ICGR fellowship. Whereas previous EU anti-money laundering directives applied primarily to land-based casinos, the EU’s Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive seeks to address and regulate online gaming as well. Online gaming regulators therefore face the challenge of effectively regulating gaming activities without unnecessarily burdening online gamblers.  

Planzer’s research will serve to flesh out the meaning and impact of the Fourth Directive on online gaming regulators, thereby providing them with guidance on proper compliance with this new directive.

"The application of the new AML rules to the gaming sector has raised significant questions among online gaming regulator,” Planzer said. “I am excited that the UNLV fellowship will allow me to establish real-life guidance and thereby serve gaming regulators’ interests."