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