Robert Rippee

Director, Hospitality and Esports Laboratory at UNLV International Gaming Institute
Executive Director, UNLV Black Fire Innovation
Executive Director, UNLV Incubator powered by Hughes Center
Expertise: Hospitality Innovation, Esports, Business Development


Robert Rippee is a nationally recognized authority on the hospitality industry, particularly technology innovation, esports, and business and product development. He is often called upon by local and national media to provide context to emerging trends in hospitality, esports, robotics, artificial intelligence, and other technology applications in the service industry. 

Rippee directs the Hospitality and Esports Lab within UNLV's International Gaming Institute and is former senior vice president of marketing for Las Vegas Sands Corporation. The lab is project-oriented and guides students from an array of disciplines through the innovation process. The lab’s environment is one of the unique learning environments at UNLV, combining the development of disruptive innovation with guidance from subject matter experts in esports, robotics, artificial intelligence, experience design, virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchain, and more. 

Rippee is active as a board advisor, mentor, and consultant to several early stage and mature technology startup companies. He is also a veteran, having served as a pilot in the United States Navy. 


  • M.B.A., Operations Management, University of Georgia
  • B.S., Finance, The University of Wyoming

Robert Rippee In The News

K.L.A.S. T.V. 8 News Now
As robot technology and machine learning continue to develop, this advancement has increasingly entered Las Vegas valley resorts and eateries, dazzling guests and causing some unease for service industry workers.
Las Vegas Sun
Robert Rippee has been a central figure in the development of the Black Fire Innovation Hub since its inception.
The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development
The UNLV Office of Economic Development and Zero Labs, a business accelerator in Nevada specializing in gaming, hospitality, entertainment, and sports, is excited to introduce the Zero Labs x UNLV Innovation Launchpad. This 3-day event, scheduled for early 2024, will offer a unique pre-accelerator experience designed specifically for UNLV’s students, faculty, and centers of excellence.
PR Newswire
GMA Consulting ("GMA"), a leading gaming, entertainment, sports, and hospitality research and consulting firm, and UNLV's Black Fire Innovation ("Black Fire") announced today a new initiative for undergraduate and graduate students interested in entrepreneurship.

Articles Featuring Robert Rippee

U.N.L.V. signage with Fall leaves in the background
Business and Community | December 28, 2021

A yearlong collection of headlines featuring innovative ideas, discoveries, and partnerships to move Southern Nevada forward.

Professor, standing next to humanoid robot, leading a tour of office space
Business and Community | October 1, 2021

UNLV Incubator at Hughes Center will help students bridge the gap between a big idea and a marketable business.