Brett Abarbanel

Director of Research, International Gaming Institute
Associate 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

Search For Other Experts On

gaming & gambling

Brett Abarbanel In The News

Las Vegas Review Journal
No wagering breakthroughs are expected when esports betting is allowed more frequently at Nevada sportsbooks about a month from now.
US Bets
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the sports wagering world was essentially short-circuited as professional and college sports leagues canceled games. With the notable exceptions of Belarusian soccer and Russian table tennis, actual markets for sporting events were few and far between.
Esports debuted in a traditional online sportsbook back in 2009. Since then, Esports has developed into a billion-dollar industry, thanks to the growth of streamers leading to increased audiences and more sponsorship revenue.
After a rocky 2020, when lockdowns kept casinos closed or operating under restrictions, the gambling industry has recovered, and then some. Commercial gaming revenue – that includes in-person gambling, online gambling and sports betting – set an all time record in March, taking in more than $5.3 billion, according to the American Gaming Association.

Articles Featuring Brett Abarbanel

UNLV cheerleaders during 2022 homecoming
Campus News | November 8, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting UNLV students and faculty who made headlines locally, regionally, and internationally.

UNLV's first conference tournament championship—and automatic bid to the NCAA Championship—since winning the Big West in 1994. It will be the Lady Rebels first NCAA tournament appearance since 2002. March 9, 2022 (Josh Hawkins/UNLV)
Campus News | April 1, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting the experts and student changemakers at UNLV.

a teacher and student in a classroom
Campus News | March 7, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting the experts and events at UNLV.

D73794_046 Family Brunch 2021.JPG
Campus News | November 4, 2021

A collection of news stories featuring stargazing and change at UNLV.