Brett Abarbanel

Director of Research, International Gaming Institute
Assistant Professor, William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration
Affiliate Researcher, University of California, Los Angeles Gambling Studies Program
Expertise: Esports & Gambling, Gaming, Gaming Technologies, Tourism, Responsible Gambling


Brett Abarbanel is director of research at the International Gaming Institute, with an affiliate position at the University of California, Los Angeles’s Gambling Studies Program. She has expertise in global gambling and social science applications, and her research covers Internet gambling policy and behavior, esports and gambling, operations and technology, and responsible gambling and community relations.

Abarbanel serves as co-executive editor of the UNLV Gaming Research & Review Journal, which publishes internationally relevant gambling research articles representing a broad span of academic disciplines. She has been interviewed as a gambling expert for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Discovery Channel and served as a consultant for multiple industry and government entities around the world.

In 2015, she was honored by the Global Gaming Expo and The Innovation Group with their Emerging Leader Award, and was named to the 2016 Global Gaming Business 40 Under 40 list.


  • Sc.B., Statistics, Brown University
  • A.B., Architectural Studies, Brown University
  • M.S., Hotel Administration, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Ph.D., Hospitality Administration, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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Brett Abarbanel In The News

May 8, 2019
The arena brimmed with spectators. Each of the 17,000 seats were filled with fans eagerly watching the video game battle play out on the big screen. Sounds like a successful event, right? But there was one minor problem: the esports fans wanted more seats.
May 17, 2018
The EBU has played an important role in following the potential of esports for a number of years, holding its first Master Class for member broadcasters back in 2016. The EBU currently works with the esports industry to offer sports-simulation games to members, but also with the EBU News Exchange offering the possibility to access esports content for free use by all EBU Members, along with industry highlights, reports and news coverage. Some 15 member broadcasters in Europe are already very active in this sphere.
April 25, 2018
Esports is breaking yet another major barrier in the Las Vegas valley. Not only are fans able to watch major events in the new Esports Arena, but they can now bet on video games.
March 22, 2018
Some history will be made on the Las Vegas Strip on Thursday.

Articles Featuring Brett Abarbanel

A video game controller and keyboard used in an esports game.
ResearchMay 8, 2019
UNLV gaming researcher explores the potential impacts of cheating in a burgeoning industry.
International Gaming Institute sign
ResearchJuly 23, 2018
IGI reports offered analysis for officials, business leaders on gaming regulation and ways to balance growing tourism market while minimizing social costs.
Ross Bryant
Campus NewsJanuary 5, 2018
A compilation of media coverage profiling just a few of the many people of UNLV who made news in 2017.
Alyssa Crittenden
ResearchDecember 26, 2017
UNLV researchers made international headlines this year with their discoveries. Here's a round up of some of our top stories of 2017.