Dr. Brett Abarbanel

Game Changer

Dr. Brett Abarbanel

Game Changer

Dr. Brett Abarbanel, Director of Research for the International Gaming Institute at UNLV: Game Changer

Game Changer

Dr. Brett Abarbanel is Director of Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, International Gaming Institute, with a joint affiliate appointment at the University of Sydney, Australia. Dr. Abarbanel’s research covers Internet gambling policy and behavior, e-sports and gambling, operations and technology use, and responsible gambling and community relations. Dr. Abarbanel was honored by The Innovation Group with their 2015 Emerging Leader Award and was named to the 2016 Global Gaming Business 40 Under 40 list.

This episode discusses the following topics:

  • Dr. Abarbanel’s research focus in the e-sports realm (14:00)
  • Her background as a gamer for recreational purposes as well as research (16:00)
  • The prevalence of the e-sports industry over the years and how it’s changed (18:00)
  • “E-sports is the fastest growing sport in the world. There are over 600 million e-sports fans and over 3 billion people playing video games. That’s almost half of the planet. It’s non-stop, immediate interaction with people all over the world.” (20:00)
  • The growth of e-sports during the pandemic (22:00)
  • Giving insights into the sheer scale of live events for e-sports and the global reach (23:00)
  • Whether Dr. Abarbanel believes that cities or countries will compete against each other in live e-sports in the future and the background of how e-sports teams developed (26:00)
  • How e-sports and sports betting are connected (31:00)
  • Discussing different team names and the importance of finding exciting names to boost marketing opportunities (33:00)
  • How to manage e-sports and sports betting responsibly, due to the sometimes young age of players (36:00)
  • Societal stigma against video games over time during the industry’s growth (40:00)
  • “We can’t get to the discussion of what responsible gaming and what responsible gambling are unless we’re on the same page to begin with. ” (42:00)
  • The growth of skill-based video games appearing in casinos (43:00)
  • Limitations of peer-to-peer skill-based gaming in casinos compared to online gaming (45:00)
  • Dr. Abarbanel’s favorite Mario Kart character to play with (48:00)
  • Gambling stories (50:00)
Quote from Dr. Brett Abarbanel

“E-sports is the fastest growing sport in the world. There are over 600 million e-sports fans and over 3 billion people playing video games. That’s almost half of the planet. It’s non-stop, immediate interaction with people all over the world.”

— Dr. Brett Abarbanel
Quote from Dr. Brett Abarbanel

“We can’t get to the discussion of what responsible gaming and what responsible gambling are unless we’re on the same page to begin with. ”

— Dr. Brett Abarbanel

More about Dr. Brett Abarbanel

Dr. Abarbanel is the co-executive editor of the UNLV Gaming Research & Review Journal, an editorial board member at International Gambling Studies and Harvard’s Division on Addiction’s Brief Addiction Science Information Source, and recently completed a term on the International Advisory Panel for Singapore’s National Council on Problem Gambling. 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 industries and government entities. She is a founding director of the Nevada Esports Alliance, which promotes the development of best practices at the intersection of the esports and regulated gambling industries. 

Dr. Abarbanel completed her B.S. in Statistics and B.A. in Architectural Studies at Brown University, where she received the Hartshorn Hypatia Award for excellence in mathematics. She completed her M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, receiving the Best Thesis and Best Dissertation awards for her work on sports book patronage and online gambling user experiences.

About the UNLV International Gaming Institute (IGI)

For more than 25 years, UNLV International Gaming Institute (IGI) has provided research-based solutions, cutting-edge insights, and executive education to the gaming industry. Described as the “global intellectual capital of gaming” by former Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and “The Harvard of Gaming” by Global Gaming Business, IGI houses several Responsible Gaming initiatives, the Center for Gaming Innovation, the International Center for Gaming Regulation, and the Expanding the Leaderverse initiative. Each of these addresses a vital need in the global gaming industry, for which the IGI serves as an answer center populated by an internationally recognized dream team of contributors.

About MaxBet Media

Two gambling enthusiasts, with a passion for all things gambling. Whether pressing our luck in the high limit room, testing the money line in the sportsbook, or just making friendly wagers on the back nine… we love to gamble! Our careers in the gaming industry have shown us that this industry is filled with some amazing people, with even more amazing stories. Our goal is to help provide a platform for those stories to be shared, while also helping everyone look good in the process.

About Landon Michael Jones

Manager and Co-Founder

Landon’s fascination with the casino industry began when he was just 12 years old and ultimately landed him in Las Vegas, where he earned a degree in hospitality management from University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). For over a decade, Landon has been involved in various aspects of the gaming industry, including operations, management, and supply & distribution.

Landon’s tenacity and passion afforded him the opportunity to serve the gaming industry’s key players and regions throughout the United States. Landon enjoys collaborating with industry leaders to create the ultimate gaming experience for the end-user.

About Mike McKiski

Manager and Co-Founder

A seasoned gaming industry executive and expert in building, marketing, and monetizing gambling related technologies, Mike McKiski currently serves as President of MaxBet Media, Inc., the digital media upstart delivering an unfiltered, authentic, and at times irreverent look at the people who are driving the gambling industry forward. 

As he was founding MaxBet Media, Inc., McKiski worked for PlayAGS, Inc. (NYSE: AGS) serving as the company’s Vice President of Sales, with revenue responsibility for the Western United States and all of Canada.  Under McKiski’s leadership the revenue team doubled in size and grew revenues over 300%. He is a market transformation catalyst who has been at the forefront of launching mobile and social marketing products for hundreds of casino operators across the continent.

Media Contact

Philip Beere, Creative Director
PJ Media • philip@philipjames.co

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