UNLV conference returns to Las Vegas after four year hiatus

UNLV building
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After a four-year break,  UNLV’s 18th International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking returns May 23-25 at Park MGM in Las Vegas. The conference features three days of presentations, panels, and keynotes as well as more informal discussions around gambling. The event, which usually runs every three years will be meeting for the first time since the pandemic.

While academic in nature at its core, the conference covers all facets of the gambling and risk-taking space. There will be discussions on the impact of sports betting on athletes, cybersecurity, women in sports betting, responsible and problem gambling, and the relationship between casinos and cannabis, among other topics.

UNLV International Gaming Institute Executive Director Brett Abarbanel told SBC Americas that the make-up of attendees is far from a bunch of professors. She said, while about half of the attendees come from academia, the rest is a mix of industry employees, regulators, and other government representatives, clinicians, and those working for non-profits.

“The goal is that it covers all aspects of gambling. So this is everything from problem gambling and addiction, responsible Gambling and prevention, law and policy, economics, and mathematics of games,” Abarbanel said. “We had a guy who came to like three conferences in a row and would talk about how he beat the books at the latest NBA season.”

Attendees will be able to choose from a wide range of options across six concurrent tracks that are a mix of research presentations and panels as well as enjoy a selection of keynotes that offer a counterpoint to some of the more academic content. The latest version of the converted schedule is available on the International Gaming Institute website.

Abarbanel was particularly excited about the keynote presentation from Olympic gold medalist BMX rider Connor Fields, who will talk about risk and how it applies to his sport and his decision-making around his training and his competitions.

Another keynote, the delightful named “Luck Be a Parlay-dy: Bet on Women” panel will feature Gaming Society’s founder Jaymee Messler and a panel of women in the sports betting space discussing how the industry can bring in more women bettors as well as generate more interest in betting on women’s sports.

Other panels and presentations include sessions on the growing concern around cybersecurity and online gambling, the use of psilocybin in treating gambling disorders, and an esports betting panel that looks at the dynamics between the betting industry and esports operators.

Online registration for the event closes on May 7. On-site registration will be available after that but at a higher cost.