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New gaming innovation centre at University of Nevada

Tue, May 7, 12:53pm by Staff Writer

A Las Vegas casino and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas say they are partnering to create a teaching and practice space featuring a mock casino, hotel rooms, sports betting area and esports arena.

The Times Union is reporting that Caesars Entertainment Corp and the university have dubbed the centre “Black Fire Innovation” and officials say it will provide a 3,995 square metre space to host, develop and market hospitality products and ideas.

“Black Fire Innovation has space you can really test out that idea and build the next prototype, or engage elbow-to-elbow with a corporation to move that (idea) forward to some type of life-changing product or services,” Zach Miles, UNLV associate vice president for economic development, told the Las Vegas Review Journal.

The space will be built at UNLV’s Harry Reid Research and Technology Park, southwest of the Las Vegas Strip.

The two-storey facility will include a student lab, work space and a replica resort and casino with slot machines and table games.

“This collaboration with Caesars Entertainment will strengthen UNLV’s role as a research leader and further elevate Las Vegas as the global intellectual capital for gaming and hospitality,” UNLV president Marta Meana told the Las Vegas Sun in a statement.

“Collaborations like Black Fire also give our students unparalleled access to experts at the forefront of the industry,” Meana said.

Caesars Entertainment executive vice president Les Ottolenghi called the effort a natural partnership.

“Our industry is highly competitive and rapidly evolving, so we have to continuously innovate to ensure our future as we establish new business models and revenue streams,” Ottolenghi told the Review-Journal in an email.

“This is really an opportunity for us to redefine the industry,” he said.

Officials said the space would be available to students of all majors, as well as researchers and partners.

They’ll be able to analyse food and music in casinos, and focus on emerging technologies such as block chain, artificial intelligence, cyber security and virtual reality.

“You’re using academic skills to work on real-world problems in the industry,” Miles said.

“If you’re not thinking of a new product or service or efficiency that will provide our lives with enjoyment, you may not exist.”

Financial details of the partnership between Caesars and UNLV were not disclosed.

The technology park is a 122-acre mixed-use centre currently home to a charter school and pharmaceutical company.

A 2018 economic analysis by the UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research estimated the park could generate as many as 25,000 jobs and as much as $2.6 billion in direct and indirect economic impact in Las Vegas over 20 years.

Latest gaming spend numbers from Vegas

March gaming win numbers that were published last week by the Las Vegas Gaming Control Board, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal

In March, the gaming win was flat in Clark County and Strip win was off 3.8 per cent.

The three-month trend paints a slightly different picture, with Clark County down 1.2 per cent and the Strip off 3.2 per cent.

While most downtown resorts also charge for parking and have resort fees, downtown Las Vegas’ gaming win was up 3.1 per cent over the three months of January, February and March.

The win in the so-called “local market”, where there are resort fees but free parking, also was mostly up, with North Las Vegas at 5 per cent.

The Boulder Strip was flat, down 0.7 per cent.

The Strip’s decline in gaming win can be attributed to the fact that the Strip has many resorts to offer, but few locations have the incredibly volatile game of baccarat.

It is a favourite among Asian high rollers and the game of choice in Chinese gaming enclave Macau.

In March, the Gaming Control Board reported that 319 baccarat tables at 22 locations won $51.3 million, a 56 per cent decline from March 2018.

Volume of play was down 42.1 per cent to $484.3 million.

The win percentage was below the norms of 12-13 per cent, coming in at 10.9 per cent, indicating gamblers played lucky against the house.

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