The University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Caesars Entertainment announced the creation of “Black Fire Innovation,” a technology hub where new gaming and hospitality concepts will be created and tested in a 43,000-square-foot innovation space that will include elements of mock hotel rooms, a casino floor and sports book, an esports arena and virtual reality facilities.
Black Fire Innovation will bring together the university’s academic leaders and Caesars Entertainment in one space to advance current trends in hospitality and gaming technology to propel the industry forward. The complex is expected to open by the end of 2019.
Black Fire Innovation will be headquartered in a state-of-the-art research building in the UNLV Harry Reid Research & Technology Park located in southwest Las Vegas. Expected to open later this year, this multi-purpose space will allow UNLV, Caesars and partners to develop and test new concepts using a mock integrated resort environment. Elements of mock hotel rooms, a casino floor with slots and table games, presentation/exhibit areas, sports book, esports arena and virtual reality facilities will be used to host on-demand testing of new ideas and products and provide a venue to showcase innovations to current and potential industry partners.
Research within the Black Fire Innovation space will focus on emerging technologies, which may include blockchain, artificial intelligence and virtual reality with interdisciplinary collaborations across areas such as architecture, psychology and fine arts. Additionally, there will be opportunities for participating startups, researchers and partners to examine how these new technologies are changing how resorts approach gaming, sports wagering and social spaces to appeal to new audiences.
Although students and professionals from UNLV’s Division of Research and Economic Development and Caesars Entertainment will occupy the space, Black Fire Innovation is an academic incubator that will also be available to private industry partners who want to advance their research and test concepts. The space is expected to foster a collaborative research environment that will spark strategic partnerships and elevate student learning and entrepreneurship while training an emerging workforce that can excel in a rapidly evolving industry.
Black Fire Innovation will be located within a four-story, 111,000-square-foot innovation building at the master-planned UNLV Harry Reid Research & Technology Park that is currently under development. The park—a partnership among UNLV, the UNLV Research Foundation and Gardner Company—will serve as a catalyst to unite business, research and technology and advance economic development efforts throughout Southern Nevada.