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UNLV Announces Partnership with ESPN To Research Sports Betting Landscape

Written by: Michael Savio
Published November 14, 2023
6 min read
UNLV Announces Partnership with ESPN

On Monday, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, announced a new partnership with ESPN to study the rapidly growing sports betting industry. ESPN gave the university’s International Gaming Institute $200,000 to launch the new study. The goal is for researchers to get a clear picture of the impact of sports betting in the US. They hope that these learnings will give us a better handle on problem gaming, the effectiveness of advertising regulations, and how they have changed markets. 

"We are thrilled to have ESPN’s support for research, education, and innovation in the responsible, sustainable representation of sports betting in the media," Brett Abarbanel, executive director of the gaming institute, said in a statement. "The growth of betting and gambling subjects in U.S. media has exploded in the past five years. So, too, have calls for extended research and thought leadership alongside this proliferation of content."

Issues with problem gambling have been a major topic in the sports betting industry. While many states have poured money into resources to help tackle the issue, no one clearly knows their effectiveness. This study could give states an idea of how much problem gambling has grown and how the current resources have helped.

ESPN Bet is Now Live

The news of the partnership came a day before the launch of the new ESPN Bet platform. The new sportsbook, which will be operated by Penn Entertainment, will replace Barstool Sportsbooks across the country. That means they will have immediate access to many US markets. 

ESPN’s decision to partner with UNLV was likely motivated in part by this launch. Barstool Sportsbook ran into issues across the country, with states accusing them of violating marketing rules and regulations. The problems revolved around how Barstool used its media presence to promote the sportsbooks. Several states have pushed Penn Entertainment, which owned Barstool, to provide clear communication on how they will avoid repeating the same mistakes. 

While this partnership does not resolve those problems, it does signal that ESPN is taking its responsibility seriously.

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Michael Savio

477 Articles

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.

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