Entain and UNLV launch pathway program for women to access sports betting and gaming sectors

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Entain plc and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) have launched the Black Fire Women’s Innovation Igniter, an academic, technology, innovation and mentoring program designed to provide UNLV undergraduate and graduate women with a pathway toward careers in the sports betting, gaming, and technology industries. 

Described as a first of its kind initiative, the Black Fire Women’s Innovation Igniter program will recruit, mentor, support and introduce talented women to the industry and design more inclusive working environments in historically male-dominated fields. 

The program will be housed in the Black Fire facility, a unique 43,000 square-foot innovation space featuring a state-of-the-art laboratory with an esports arena, virtual reality studio and more.  

The curriculum will include practical, hands-on experiences, internships, and mentoring from top executives in the industry, as well as providing the support and resources needed to bring innovations and designs to life.

In partnership with Entain and UNLV, The Black Fire Women’s Innovation Igniter project will be led by Jan Jones Blackhurst, Chief Executive in Residence, International Gaming Institute and Robert Rippee PhD, Executive Director, Black Fire Innovation Hub. The program is set to launch in August 2021 with circa 20 women in the initial class.

“Entain is the ideal partner to help us bring this groundbreaking program to life,” said Jones Blackhurst. “As a leader in online sports betting and gaming, Entain will help us showcase the myriad of opportunities available in these professional fields, further develop our curriculum, and help women see career pathways in a technology led industry where they are not always well-represented.”

Last month, Entain named Jette Nygaard-Andersen its CEO, marking her out as one of the highest profile female executives in the sports betting industry. Teaming up with UNLV on Black Fire Women’s Innovation Igniter affords the firm an opportunity to continue to set precedents in the sports betting, gaming, and technology industries, and help ensure commercial success with talented women in key roles.

“We are honored to be a part of such an inspiring and pioneering program with UNLV,” said Nygaard-Andersen. “Women can face many obstacles in getting traction in careers that are often or traditionally male dominated. This program will encourage women to aspire for careers they previously may not have considered, and it provides the hands-on experience they need to make the sports betting, gaming, and technology industries more inclusive.”

Entain intends to open an office at Black Fire with employees that will include engineers as well as software and gaming developers. The firm said it will seek opportunities to mentor, as well as create internships and jobs for some of these young women following the program, not just at Entain, but also with other leading companies throughout the industry.