UNLV has partnered with Millennial Esports this semester to teach students about the business side of the competitive video game circuit.
The University's "Esports Lab" course held its first session on Thursday at "thE Arena" inside Neonopolis. Students were taken on a tour of the facility by Millennial Esports CEO Alex Igelman, who also gave a lecture about his experience bringing competitive gaming to Las Vegas.
"Partnering with UNLV is like bringing gaming back to its roots,” said Igelman. "This is how it began. The first video game competition was hosted at Stanford University in 1972. Today, esports rivals elite professional sports and pro gamers make tens of millions of dollars off one tournament."
Esports Lab is taught by Dr. Robert Rippee, and aims to help students understand esports from a hospitality and casino standpoint. The course also covers current esports business models and touches on social issues like gender in video gaming.
By the end of the course, students will have to build their own hypothetical business models for esports in a modern casino resort. A panel of industry professionals will attend their final presentation to help score their projects.
The push to incorporate esports into casinos is part of a recent push by the industry to bring in the Millennial crowd. Other solutions include turning slot machine floors into arcades that let you win your money back if you're good enough.
“Esports is the hottest topic in every boardroom on The Strip, particularly with respect to Millennials," said Rippee. "What better place to begin the journey to understand its relevance and application to the casino and hospitality industry than right here at UNLV.”