ESPN links with UNLV for responsible gambling research and education

UNLV building
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As Penn Entertainment gets ready to push the launch button on ESPN BET, the network is ensuring that it becomes a thought leader in responsible gaming by partnering with UNLV on RG research. 

Under the terms of the agreement, ESPN will be the founding donor of a new body of UNLV research that will leverage the knowledge of the International Gaming Institute to develop a program to support responsible gaming policies. 

The study seeks to develop a program dedicated to researching, educating people and advising companies on sports betting and the intersection that it has with media companies. This is particularly important as ESPN’s brand is the face of Penn Entertainment’s re-launched sportsbook. 

“We are thrilled to have ESPN’s support for research, education, and innovation in the responsible, sustainable representation of sports betting in the media,” commented Brett Abarbanel, IGI Executive Director. 

“The growth of betting and gambling subjects in US media have exploded in the past five years. So, too, have calls for extended research and thought leadership alongside this proliferation of content. ESPN is a market leader in sports media, and collaboratively we will advance local, national, and global discussions on sports, while also establishing UNLV’s IGI as the academic hub for thought leadership in this important area.”

ESPN will provide around $200,000 towards the project while it will also contribute further resources to the studies including personnel, research, global outreach and operational needs. 

There are five identifiable goals of the collaboration to help improve the intersection of sports betting and sports media from a responsible gaming perspective. These goals are enhancing responsible gaming, developing evidence-based insights, responsible marketing practices, creating responsible gaming program parameters and educating industry leaders. 

“ESPN is proud to support this initiative at UNLV,” said Kevin Martinez, Vice President of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “Our investment reflects our commitment to ensuring that the world of sports betting is not only entertaining but also responsible. We are eager to work alongside UNLV’s International Gaming Institute in advancing industry standards.”

As ESPN BET goes live in 17 states today, the media company is ensuring that the platform and its media business uphold integrity by setting strict restrictions on what ESPN staff, including reporters and staff, can bet on.