UNLV’s International Gaming Institute (IGI) Participates in Research Week!

Oct. 26, 2017

Written by: Nicole Schultz, Global Gaming Capital Coordinator, International Gaming Institute

Mid-October has always been a busy time of the semester for universities everywhere. For UNLV students and faculty in particular, however, the second week of October means one thing: Research Week.

Research Week is a time for UNLV’s best and brightest researchers to share their ideas with fellow academics, industry, and the campus community. An indication that UNLV is truly on The Path to Top Tier, Research Week is a time that inspires creativity, communication, and collaboration across majors and departments throughout the campus.

Curious to know how some of our researchers got involved?

Dr. Brett Abarbanel, IGI’s Director of Research, started the week strong with a lightning talk at Research Week’s Event Kickoff Program, with an impressive lineup of speakers from departments across campus. Dr. Abarbanel briefly highlighted some of her many current research projects—everything from esports to responsible gambling—to a room of 200+ attendees, including roughly 100 high school students who were eager to learn more about UNLV research.

Also in the spirit of collaboration, the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality and the International Gaming Institute teamed for the Hospitality and Gaming Research Showcase. Open to the public, graduate students and faculty participated in poster sessions that demonstrated their knowledge of the gaming/hospitality industry:

Robert Rippee, Ph.D. Student and Director of IGI’s Hospitality Lab and Esports Lab, presented his poster on alternatives to the traditional supply and demand chain. Rippee’s research explores the “multi-sided demand platform structure”—the innovative new business model used by newer companies like Airbnb and Uber. In this structure, the platform owner creates a reciprocal exchange of benefits, acting as an intermediary between the multi-sided markets and adding value to both parties.

John Lukasik, Ph.D. Student and IGI Graduate Assistant, focused his poster on the relationship between esports viewership, video game play, and attitudes towards casino gaming. Lukasik’s research showed that video gamers prefer table games over other casino alternatives due to the “social elements, skill components, and interactivity.” This conclusion has huge implications for the industry: by serving an underserved market and creating more skill-based games, hotels will generate more revenue from their casino floors.

Marta Soligo, another of IGI’s graduate assistants, worked with a team of fellow Ph.D. students (Shekinah Hoffman and Ray Cho) to examine the integrated (casino) resort and the ways in which its dynamics parallel commonly observed patterns of globalization. Since its inception in Las Vegas, the integrated resort—a product once unique to the Vegas experience—has been exported to every continent. Soligo and the research team examined this exportation as well as the idea of homogenization in relation to integrated resorts globally today. Soligo and the team’s research also focused on the decline and growth of gaming and non-gaming revenues, respectively. This demonstrates that consumers are embracing diversification and that primary motivations for visiting integrated resorts are often related to non-gaming activities.

One of the final events of UNLV’s Research Week was the Robot Automation for Dance (RAD) Hackathon, in partnership with UNLV’s Division of Research and Economic Development. Organized by our Special Projects Coordinator, Shekinah Hoffman, the RAD Hackathon invited the scholars and high school students of Core Academy, powered by The Rogers Foundation, to work with UNLV students to program their very own dancing robots. The high schoolers walked away from the event with new coding skills and sizable scholarships from the UNLV College of Engineering and College of Sciences.

For more information on the International Gaming Institute’s past, present, and future research projects, please visit our website or contact our Director of Research, Dr. Brett Abarbanel: