Entain and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) announced on Thursday a new, groundbreaking partnership to launch the Women’s Innovation Igniter, an academic, technology, innovation, and mentoring program designed to provide UNLV undergraduate and graduate women with a pathway toward successful careers in the sports betting, gaming, and technology industries.
Entain is a global sports betting and gaming entertainment operator that jointly owns, with MGM Resorts International, BetMGM in the United States. Entain leads the betting and gaming industry through its proprietary technology that also provides the engine for the roll-out of BetMGM.
Through the Women’s Innovation Igniter initiative, Entain and UNLV will recruit, mentor, support and introduce talented women to the industry and design more inclusive working environments in historically male-dominated fields.
The program will be housed at the Harry Reid Research and Technology Park, a unique innovation building featuring a state-of-the-art laboratory with an esports arena, virtual reality studio and more. The curriculum will include practical, hands-on experiences, internships, and mentoring from top executives in the industry, as well as providing the support and resources needed to bring innovations and designs to life.
In partnership with Entain and UNLV, The Women’s Innovation Igniter project will be led by Jan Jones Blackhurst, Chief Executive in Residence, International Gaming Institute, and Robert Rippee, Ph.D., Executive Director, Innovation Hub. The program is set to launch in August 2021 with about 20 women in the initial class.
"Entain is the ideal partner to help us bring this groundbreaking program to life," said Jan Jones Blackhurst. "As a leader in online sports betting and gaming, Entain will help us showcase the myriad of opportunities available in these professional fields, further develop our curriculum, and help women see career pathways in a technology-led industry where they are not always well-represented."
Last month, Entain named Jette Nygaard-Andersen its CEO, marking her out as one of the highest-profile female executives in the sports betting industry. Teaming up with UNLV on The Women’s Innovation Igniter gives Entain the opportunity to continue to set precedents in the sports betting, gaming, and technology industries, and help ensure commercial success with talented women in key roles.
"We are honored to be a part of such an inspiring and pioneering program with UNLV," said Jette Nygaard-Andersen. "Women can face many obstacles in getting traction in careers that are often or traditionally male-dominated. This program will encourage women to aspire for careers they previously may not have considered, and it provides the hands-on experience they need to make the sports betting, gaming, and technology industries more inclusive."
Entain intends to open an office at The Harry Reid Research and Technology Park with employees that will include engineers as well as software and gaming developers. Entain will seek opportunities to mentor, as well as create internships and jobs for some of these young women following the program, not just at Entain, but also with other leading companies throughout the industry.
UNLV's Harry Reid Research and Technology Park was unveiled in 2020 and provides students the resources and skills needed to accelerate the introduction of new concepts into the gaming and hospitality market, and spur creativity and entrepreneurship overall.