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In hospitality and Gaming it’s all about the Experience

The Experience was clearly evident at the 16th International Conference on Gambling & Risk Taking held at the Mirage in Las Vegas in June 

This conference, presented by UNLV’S International Gaming Institute began with a key note address by Steve Wynn, Gaming Visionary and Developer who changed the landscape not only in Las Vegas but throughout the industry with the opening of the Mirage in 1989.

Dr. Bo Bernhard Executive Director, International Gaming Institute, UNLV addresses the conference

“…It wasn’t about gaming,” Wynn said. “It was about the place!” This was an obvious reference to gaming’s position then, as well as gaming’s position now within the total model of the non-gaming resort experience.

The conference hosts experts from several disciplines to present and discuss various studies and share their views from their respective disciplines. It is an international exchange of ideas.

The conference has been held every three years since its inception in 1974; founded by the late Dr. Bill Edington, Economics Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Bo Bernhard, Executive Director, International Gaming Institute, UNLV and his team now present the event which in his words takes at least two of the three years to prepare. Dr. Bernhard noted that the conference has grown continually in attendance and professional disciplines.

Jan Jones Burkhart, current Executive Vice President Communications/Government Relations/CR and former two-term Mayor of Las Vegas, had a powerful stage presence


But the conference had “Encores!” (Pardon the Wynn pun.) Jan Jones Burkhart, Executive Vice

President Communications/Government Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility Caesars, and former two-term Mayor of Las Vegas, had a powerful keynote, sighting the lack of female leadership in gaming and other business segments. She said there are not enough women in leadership roles.

“Statistics don’t lie — there is a problem,” she said. Panel sessions were conducted by an international group of presenters on topics such as:

Responsible Gaming, Esports, Daily Fantasy Sports, (DFS) Integrated Resorts, Economics, Public Policy, Mathematics, Social Sciences, Psychology, Technology and more…

Knowledge through research and collaboration is key to staying relevant.

As a former gaming executive turned academic I was very comfortable in this collective “meeting of the minds.” That is to say that those working in academia, research, and responsible gaming initiatives along with members of the casino/ resort operations infrastructure fit nicely into this conference.

The Gaming industry is as strong as the networks that support it.

We know that “change in the gaming industry is a constant!”

Internationally applied research studies and events such as this conference are paramount in collaborative initiatives to work together with gaming industry members to help serve its needs as well as those who are the recipients of their services; the customer. 

Bob Ambrose, Instructor, Gaming & Hospitality Center for Hospitality & Sport Management, Drexel Uiversity.