A few years earlier, the concept of bringing any sports team, not to mention an NFL franchise, to a city constructed on gaming was a long shot. A couple match-fixing scandals had currently offered lots of professional leagues cause for concern. Combine that with legalized betting in Las Vegas and the subsequent possibility for gamers to profit from their own play, and it appeared impossible that a pro sports team would ever make its way to the city.
But some influential NFL leaders’ opinions moved in late 2015 when a team of scientists penned a report evaluating the dangers and advantages professional sports teams would bring to Las Vegas. It was enough to persuade the NFL not just to reconsider, but to go all in.
” For years, the NFL turned down Las Vegas even as a host for any games because of betting, since sports wagering was believed to be so bothersome,” stated Bo Bernhard, executive director of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute ( IGI) and lead author of the report. “Las Vegas is typically viewed as the issue when, in fact, the city has shown reliable at providing services.”
” We conclude (as do numerous other experts) that due to the rigor of Nevada’s regulatory practices, in lots of ways the state’s method would in fact offer sports leagues with their finest chance to secure themselves when it comes to the critical issue of integrity,” the report entitled “Specialist Sports Teams in Las Vegas: What the Research study States” indicated. “Offered present price quotes that 80 percent of worldwide sports wagers happen in illegal, unregulated, or under-regulated markets, expert sports leagues would benefit from a shift that moves more of these wagers into legal, managed, and more frequently checked settings.”
And so, after Bernhard and his colleagues completed the work, regional leaders at Las Vegas Sands led business charge to make the Oakland Raiders the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020.
That research study is simply the current amongst Bernhard’s research study contributions, making him the perfect recipient of UNLV’s 2017 Harry Reid Silver State Research Study Award— the university’s most prominent research award. It acknowledges faculty who substantially advance their field, address real-world needs and issues, and add to Nevada’s economic development and development.
Bernhard’s research study shows how UNLV and the Las Vegas neighborhood mutually notify one another, fostering growth and advancement in both.
” Bo has developed a pioneering, global, and research-driven program that improves the social and economic wellness of Nevada every day,” said Mary Croughan, UNLV’s vice president for research study and economic advancement.
And, she kept in mind, his work does much more than raise the profile of the city and the reputation of the university. “Bo remains in continuous demand all over the world, lecturing to audiences in more than 30 countries, dealing with federal governments and industry in literally hundreds of circumstances at crucial moments in these places’ (and Nevada’s) socioeconomic development.”
From Boston and Baseball to Baccarat and Behavioral Researches
Bernhard’s ties to the city and his connection to gambling started well prior to his professorship at UNLV. Bernhard’s great-great-grandfather, Joe “Kid” Jordan, came to Las Vegas in the early 1900s to pursue his career as a casino dealer– one of the few locations he might do so without the risk of prosecution.
Regardless of this, Bernhard never considered studying gambling or ending up being an academic when he went to Harvard Unviersity as an undergraduate and two-sport professional athlete (baseball and soccer). Pursuing research study was first recommended to him on a ballfield, of all locations. The commentator relayed his name and home town throughout the beginning lineup, and after one specific video game, Richard Herrnstein, a psychology teacher who had actually been being in the stands, approached Bernhard.
” So, you’re from Vegas? You should study on the psychology of gambling for my class,” Herrnstein said.
Bernhard found he delighted in the research. He returned to Las Vegas for his graduate research studies, earning a Ph.D. in sociology from UNLV in 2002. Here, he explored the sociology and psychology of gambling with a focus on so-called “deviant” habits in society.
Bernhard has actually invested many years studying the biological, psychological, and sociological structures of problem betting. Working along with medical school professors at Harvard, Yale, and UCLA, he has actually recommended including sociology to the tool chest in a manner that acknowledges the condition’s broad foundations.
” The health sciences have actually now begun to catch up with Bo’s research study perspectives, moving away from their prior reliance exclusively on medicinal approaches to problems to now combine sociological and psychological viewpoints in best-practice treatments,” stated Robert Futrell, UNLV sociology teacher and department chair.
Expanding UNLV’s International Reach
In addition to his issue betting research study, Bernhard has actually invested several years informing governments, like those of Singapore, Japan, and Brazil, on how to best bring gaming to these new jurisdictions based upon exactly what he’s seen in Las Vegas and beyond. Bernhard’s visit in 2012 to IGI executive director enabled him to extend his research study to check out the impacts of casinos on neighborhoods with the help of the IGI research group.
Bernhard has helped produce what the institute’s founders planned IGI to be: an answer center for the international video gaming industry that bridges the space between scholastic research study and federal government and market practices.
In the past years, Bernhard has offered those responses through more than 30 scholastic publications and 200 global discussions and keynote addresses. He also protected 22 financing sources, amounting to almost $10 million, to money programs to attend to industry issues.
Much like his research study, Bernhard imagines Las Vegas becoming significantly multidisciplinary in 15 years. Resorts will be increasingly more incorporated, using new kinds of entertainment for travelers. He prepares for that countries like Japan, Greece, and Brazil will emerge full blast into the worldwide hospitality and tourism market, and he’s positioned IGI to continue leading those discussions.
” The future of the hospitality industry at big is being built at UNLV,” Bernhard said.
Building Bridges, Paving Pathways
From the undergrad through executive level, Bernhard’s teaching and research are inextricably linked.
” The very best mentor is grounded in research study because research is simply the expansion of understanding,” Bernhard stated. “If you’re broadening understanding while likewise teaching that knowledge, you’re going to be an incredible instructor.”
Bernhard has chaired a number of thesis and dissertation committees and has actually mentored and moneyed dozens of undergraduate and graduate scientists, some of whom now work with him as full-time professor.
” Bo has filled numerous functions in my scholastic life, from graduate consultant to colleague to buddy, and he is the very best academic with whom I have actually ever had the fortune to work,” said Brett Abarbanel, IGI’s director of research. “A lot of exactly what I know and how I share that understanding is rooted in what I have actually learned from Bo.”
Bernhard thinks that one of the numerous reasons IGI, UNLV, and Las Vegasexperience success is since of their readiness to collaborate. When thinking about whether to develop a bridge to form a brand-new collaboration, Bernhard stated, the answer is almost always yes. Take his current appointment as Philip G. Satre Chair in Gaming Research Studies; it’s the first-ever chair shared between UNLV and the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR).
The International Conference on Gaming & & Danger Taking— which Bernhard acquired from the late UNR video gaming professor, economic expert, and individual mentor Costs Eadington in 2013– continues to develop bridges between gaming academics and gaming market executives from all over the world and stays the largest and earliest gambling conference of its kind.
And along with former Nevada state Sen. Mark Lipparelli, Bernhard has co-moderated the Executive Development Program (EDP), a partnership program between UNLV and the UNR, every November for the previous 5 years. The gaming-industry bootcamp is in its 28th year and has more than 1,400 alumni from 48 countries.
” I am so happy to Bo for maintaining the requirements and rigor that make EDP the special program that it is,” said Tricia Smylie, a 2017 EDP graduate. “He and the EDP team have assisted me realize my potential and establish as a blossoming video gaming executive.”
Applying EDP’s design to a diverse group of under-resourced high schoolers in Las Vegas, Bernhard and IGI unique job organizer Shekinah Hoffman just recently established the Young Executive Scholars (YES) program, which shows students the chances that await them in their own yard. Although 2017 was its inaugural year, YES secured $120,000 in college scholarships for 20 trainees.
” Growing up, I could see the big structures on the Strip, clearly, but I didn’t realize that education was the method to get there,” Bernhard stated. “I’m so pleased to teach for a program like YES, which allows deserving kids to make that connection and see their capacity.”
In Variety There Is Strength
Bernhard remembers an especially impactful minute from his undergraduate years when among his instructors stated, “In all systems, in all methods, in variety there is strength.” Bernhard continues to carry this mantra with him.
Bernhard thinks that IGI is the ideal location to lead the way for female management opportunities in gaming– positions at this time held mostly by males. It started with building a diverse group at IGI itself. He and IGI Associate Director Katherine Jackson have actually grown the institute from 2 to 20 workers, 14 of whom are women.
IGI-funded researchers Toni Repetti and Shekinah Hoffman were the very first to utilize data from the gaming and hospitality industry to comprehend the wage gap and aspects that make it tough for females to advance in the market. Bernhard hopes that the implications of their findings extend beyond the market and produce lasting modification in the world in which his children, Ava and Audrey, will grow up.
He believes he will see more women like Repetti, Hoffman, Abarbanel going into the gaming research fold. And in July 2020, when the results of his team’s pro sports research take concrete kind in his hometown, Bernhard wants to walk onto the field of the recently developed Raiders Stadium with his daughters and say, “Your dad played a bit part in all of this, and now it’s your turn.”