US casino giant Caesars Entertainment has joined forces with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), on a new initiative focused on developing technology for the casino gambling and sports betting markets.
Due to open before the end of 2019, Black Fire Innovation will be a 43,000 square foot facility featuring elements of a casino floor and sportsbook, an esports arena and virtual reality facilities.
Located at the UNLV Harry Reid Research & Technology Park in Las Vegas, the Black Fire Innovation facility will also allow participating start-ups, researchers and partners to test new technologies in the casino and sports betting sectors. It aims to test how technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and virtual reality can help broaden the appeal of betting and gaming to new demographics.
“We intend to accelerate innovation in a way that is truly unprecedented within the gaming and hospitality space, bringing together top researchers and industry experts in a unique collaborative environment,” Caesars Entertainment’s EVP and chief information officer, Les Ottolenghi, said.
“Working side-by-side and with emerging student talent, technology partners and the community through this technology hub, Black Fire Innovation is designed to spur the creativity and entrepreneurship that will shape the future of our industry for many years to come.”
UNLV president, Marta Meana, added: “This collaboration with Caesars Entertainment will strengthen UNLV’s role as a research and innovation leader and further elevate Las Vegas as the global intellectual capital for gaming and hospitality.”
Confirmation of the new launch comes after Caesars earlier this month named Anthony Rodio as its new chief executive officer. Rodio replaces Mark Frissora, Caesars’ chief executive since July 2015.