UNLV and Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ: CZR) today announced the creation of “Black Fire Innovation,” a technology hub where new gaming and hospitality concepts will be created and tested in a 43,000 square-foot innovation space that will include elements of mock hotel rooms, a casino floor and sportsbook, an esports arena and virtual reality facilities. Black Fire Innovation brings the university’s academic leaders and Caesars Entertainment, one of the world’s most diversified casino-entertainment providers, together in one space to advance current trends in hospitality and gaming technology to propel the industry forward. The complex is expected to open by the end of 2019.
Black Fire Innovation will be headquartered in a state-of-the-art research building in the UNLV Harry Reid Research & Technology Park located in southwest Las Vegas. Expected to open later this year, this multipurpose space will allow UNLV, Caesars and partners to develop and test new concepts using a mock integrated resort environment. Elements of mock hotel rooms, a casino floor with slots and table games, presentation/exhibit areas, sports book, esports arena and virtual reality facilities will be used to host on-demand testing of new ideas and products and provide a venue to showcase innovations to current and potential industry partners.
“This collaboration with Caesars Entertainment will strengthen UNLV’s role as a research and innovation leader and further elevate Las Vegas as the global intellectual capital for gaming and hospitality,” said UNLV President Marta Meana. “Collaborations like Black Fire Innovation also give our students unparalleled access to experts at the forefront of the industry. It’s an experience unique to Las Vegas that we’re proud to offer at UNLV.”
Research within the Black Fire Innovation space will focus on emerging technologies, which may include blockchain, artificial intelligence and virtual reality with interdisciplinary collaborations across areas such as architecture, psychology and fine arts. Additionally, there will be opportunities for participating startups, researchers and partners to examine how these new technologies are changing how resorts approach gaming, sports wagering and social spaces to appeal to new audiences.
“We intend to accelerate innovation in a way that is truly unprecedented within the gaming and hospitality space, bringing together top researchers and industry experts in a unique collaborative environment,” said Les Ottolenghi, Caesars Entertainment Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer. “Working side-by-side and with emerging student talent, technology partners and the community through this technology hub, Black Fire Innovation is designed to spur the creativity and entrepreneurship that will shape the future of our industry for many years to come.”
Although students and professionals from UNLV’s Division of Research and Economic Development and Caesars Entertainment will occupy the space, Black Fire Innovation is an academic incubator that will also be available to private industry partners who want to advance their research and test concepts. The space is expected to foster a collaborative research environment that will spark strategic partnerships and elevate student learning and entrepreneurship while training an emerging workforce that can excel in a rapidly evolving industry.
Black Fire Innovation will be located within a four-story, 111,000-square-foot innovation building at the master-planned UNLV Harry Reid Research & Technology Park that is currently under development. The park – a partnership among UNLV, the UNLV Research Foundation and Gardner Company – will serve as a catalyst to unite business, research and technology and advance economic development efforts throughout Southern Nevada.
UNLV is a doctoral-degree-granting institution of more than 30,000 students and 3,500 faculty and staff that is recognized among the top three percent of the nation’s research institutions - those with “very high research activity” - by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. UNLV offers a broad range of respected academic programs and is committed to recruiting and retaining top students and faculty, educating the region's diversifying population and workforce, and driving economic activity for Southern Nevada. Learn more at unlv.edu.
About Caesars Entertainment Corporation
Caesars Entertainment is one of the world's most diversified casino-entertainment providers and the most geographically diverse U.S. casino-entertainment company. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada, in 1937, Caesars Entertainment has grown through development of new resorts, expansions and acquisitions. Caesars Entertainment's resorts operate primarily under the Caesars®, Harrah's® and Horseshoe® brand names. Caesars Entertainment's portfolio also includes the Caesars Entertainment UK family of casinos. Caesars Entertainment is focused on building loyalty and value with its guests through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership. Caesars Entertainment is committed to its employees, suppliers, communities and the environment through its PEOPLE PLANET PLAY framework. For more information, please visit www.caesars.com/corporate.
About Gardner Company
Gardner Company is a full-service real estate company, specializing in the development of office, retail, industrial and medical buildings with offices in Utah, Idaho and Nevada and has one of the largest real estate portfolios in the region. The philosophy of Gardner Company is to build great relationships, which it achieves by partnering with people and companies with the highest of standards to benefit clients, the community and the environment. For more information on Gardner Company, visit gardnercompany.net.
Forward Looking Statements
This release includes "forward-looking statements" intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You can identify these statements by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. These statements contain words such as “will, "expect," “intend” and "opportunity" or the negative or other variations thereof or comparable terminology. In particular, they include statements relating to, among other things, future actions and the future outcome of the Company’s gaming and hospitality technology hub collaboration. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and projections about future events.
You are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or results and involve risks and uncertainties that cannot be predicted or quantified and, consequently, the actual performance of the technology hub may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.
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