Students at UNLV's Center for Gaming Innovation have big plans to shake up the casino world:
- Troy Pettie and Even Thomas, a.k.a. Guru Games, used one of the world's fastest supercomputers to develop "Line Em Up," an electronic game that mashes "Candy Crush" together with a traditional slot machine .
- Harold Moret, who runs a domino tournament league in Las Angeles, has created a table game called "Casino Dominoes" that uses cards instead of tiles.
- Matthew Stream, who's worked as a card dealer for nine years, developed a simple version of blackjack called "Easy Jack" that stops at 11 instead of 21.
- Even one of the professors has an idea to share - Associate Director Daniel Sahl created the "Color Changing Gaming Object," which could potentially offer bigger payouts compared to a traditional Big 6 wheel.
These projects aren't just for class. UNLV will be presenting their ideas at Global Gaming Expo (G2E) at the Sands Expo Center, which runs from Oct. 3-5. The event draws in about 26,000 professionals from the casino industry, which gives students the chance to turn their ideas into reality.
Professor Sahl says the Center for Gaming Innovation aims to attract more people to the state of Nevada who are interested in creating original casino games.
"We are funded by the Governor's Office of Economic Development," Sahl explained. "Governor Sandoval several years ago made the point that he didn't want Las Vegas or Nevada to just be the number one destination for gaming - he wanted us to be the number one place for [Intellectual Property] development."
So far his class has shared a bit of success. "Easy Jack" just finished a trial run at Harrah's hotel-casino in Las Vegas, and has received approval from the gaming commission to operate in Nevada. "Casino Dominoes" finished their presentation at G2E on Tuesday, and has apparently received a lot of attention from potential business partners, according to Sahl.
"I have some pretty terrific students. I mean I really get some of the best that UNLV has to offer," Sahl said. "What better job than sitting around all day with brilliant minds, coming up with new game concepts, and playing games all the time. It's very exhilarating."