Dr. Robert Rippee, Executive Director of Black Fire Innovation Hub: Gambling Aliens
Embrace the Unknown
Dr. Robert Rippee is a nationally recognized authority on the hospitality industry, particularly technology innovation, esports, and business and product development. He is currently the Executive Director at the UNLV Black Fire Innovation Hub, leading a team of students, faculty, staff and partner stakeholders in fulfilling the vision and mission for economic development and diversity.
This episode discusses the following topics:
- Background of Black Fire and how it assists tech startups (13:00)
- Discussing the Metaverse, digital land and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) (14:00)
- How the metaverse and cryptocurrency innovations converge into the casino industry(18:00)
- Answering whether Dr. Rippee believes aliens exist (20:00)
- Improving digital casinos and converging physical and virtual experiences that entice gamers (21:00)
- Dr. Rippee’s academic background and what he specializes in (26:00)
- What will happen with brick and mortar casinos as a result of increasing digital innovation and how they can adapt (28:00)
- “I think online gaming is a challenge for casinos to up their game. Recognize that people are still social animals. Take the new technology and find a way to converge the two” (29:00)
- Overcoming fear of the unknown with new technologies (30:00)
- “Don’t raise the white flag. Go after the new technology. Don’t be frightened by learning new things because it can’t hurt you” (30:00)
- Understanding human behavior to create new technologies and drive innovation (32:00)
- Which new technologies Dr. Rippee is the most excited about (33:00)
- Exploration and curiosity driving recent technological innovations (36:00)
- Hybridization of gambling in the virtual and physical space (38:00)
- Key projects that Black Fire labs are currently working on (41:00)
- Development of VR headsets in virtual casinos (45:00)
- The development of haptics, which is the sensory component of virtual gaming (46:00)
- Ethical issues behind haptics and the importance of having good regulatory structures in place (49:00)
- Limitations on how to study the human brain and whether humans are overstimulated by technology (53:00)
- Converging behaviors of accepting failure while using it as motivation (57:00)
- Gambling stories (59:00)
“I think online gaming is a challenge for casinos to up their game. Recognize that people are still social animals. Take the new technology and find a way to converge the two”— Dr. Robert Rippee
“Don’t raise the white flag. Go after the new technology. Don’t be frightened by learning new things because it can’t hurt you”— Dr. Robert Rippee
About Dr. Robert Rippee
Dr. Rippee attained his Ph.D. in Hotel Administration from UNLV in December 2020, researching consumer behavior and human learning in the context of innovation. He is frequently requested as the academic advisor by graduate students for independent research projects ranging from video game development to robotic process automation. His research has included game theory, problem gaming, the convergence of gaming and gambling, human learning, innovation, and esports. He holds an MBA from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business and an undergraduate degree in Finance from The University of Wyoming.
Dr. Rippee is also a Decorated Veteran, having served as a pilot in the United States Navy. He is an avid bicyclist, both road and mountain. He is also an avid fitness practitioner.
About Black Fire Innovation Hub
Black Fire Innovation Hub brings one of the nation’s top research institutions to incubate and accelerate problem-solving innovation. Black Fire Innovation creates a collaborative, synergistic environment designed to advance student ideas, industry innovation projects, and economic development through advanced technology development.
Black Fire Innovation Hub is housed in a state-of-the-art research building at the UNLV Harry Reid Research & Technology Park, located in southwestern Las Vegas, a few miles from the main UNLV campus and additional facilities currently under development.
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.