Macau and Singapore may be stealing the show from Las Vegas when it comes to volume and profits, Sin City is still considered to be the gambling industry’s center of innovation. Keeping this status, however, takes effort.
While the leading role of local companies is still tangible in the industry (many large foreign casinos are actually owned by Vegas brick-and-mortar operators), there is at least one person who believes that education is the key to future success.
Mark Yoseloff, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Foundation trustee is determined to see a significant US presence in the global gambling industry. Using a USD 250,000 donation from the Yoseloff Family Charitable Foundation, he is at the helm of the Dr. Mark Yoseloff Gaming Innovation Program, set to start in August.
“If you think about it, look at all the innovation that’s taken place over the last 40 years, Forty years ago, there were no video slot machines, specialty table games or ticket in, ticket out slot machines. All of that was developed in the 40 years. What’s the next 40 years going to look like?” asked the trustee.
New technologies and innovations are being rolled out on all levels of the industry, from mobile casino gambling to geolocation, to Bitcoins, and so much more.
As American gambling laws change, old opportunities vanish and new ones appear, the gambling industry requires a supply of forward thinking, versatile businessman.
According to Yoseloff, “gaming companies want more input from employees who understand the intersection of gaming with math, psychology, business and sociology, as it’s these employees who will shape the future of the industry with an infusion of solid new ideas.”
Beginning with a course on gaming commercialization, UNLV students can enroll to learn the ins and outs of casino game design, including those likely to be used by upcoming online casinos in the US.
The program is thus not just about technology, but taking a product all the way to commercial success. It is about giving students “the tools they need to perfect their craft,” said Yoseloff.
Bo Bernhard, executive director of the UNLV International Gaming Institute agrees. “We have taught students how to run a casino floor and how to manage a business, but what we haven’t taught them is how to create the intellectual property that drives the experience. The days of designing a game for a box or table on a casino floor are over,” said Bernhard.
The director emphasized that “content has always been king,” especially in the new era of widespread online, social and other gambling platforms.