University-Industry Engagement Week

UNLV opens research facility to support gaming innovations

By David Schwartz
Published: February 4th, 2020

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) has opened a four-story research center venue that will serve as an incubator for new ideas in gaming, entertainment, and integrated resort experiences.

The 43,000 sq-ft Black Fire Innovation facility began operations last week, marking completion of the first university-affiliated component in the 122-acre Harry Reid Research and Technology Park. It will be operated as a public-private partnership with prominent American casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corporation.

UNLV officials say Black Fire Innovation will allow its students “to bridge the gap between academic life and the post-graduate world” by working alongside professionals already involved in their course of study. The $35 million facility is to also designed as a proving ground for early stage innovations and a place where they be showcased to a range of on-site partners including Intel Corporation, Caesars, and Panasonic Corporation.

Zach Miles, UNLV’s associate VP for economic development, says his department will have office space on the third floor of the property and soon hopes to begin attracting industry-sponsored research. “We’ll open those gates and those projects will start to flow,” Miles said.

The top floor of Black Fire is already hosting an eSports studio, slot machines from International Game Technology (IGT), and a mock sportsbook as well as a range of traditional blackjack tables where the new Buster Blackjack side bet innovation is being tested. In addition, hospitality students can now experiment utilizing a pair of simulated guest rooms while also trying out their ideas in the venue’s coffee shop, dining room, and bar.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, attending the facility’s opening, said Black Fire would help to create partnership opportunities between academia and a range of industries “that simply aren’t possible on many college campuses today.”

Source: World Casino News

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week