November 14, 2023 2 min read


ESPN Donates $200,000 to UNLV’s IGI for Safer Gambling Research

The growth of sports betting means that the sector should be researched extensively

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), has secured a $200,000 donation from ESPN ahead of the launch of the ESPN BET platform. The money was given to the school’s International Gaming Institute (IGI) and will be used for safer gambling research.

Thanks to the new funding, the institute will begin the development of a pioneering program that specializes in studying sports betting’s intersection with the media and providing betting education and counsel.

The new program will have five focal points. The first of them is the enhancement of responsible gambling, which will show what the best safer gambling practices are. In addition, the program will develop insights based on evidence from evaluating companies’ policies, messaging, technology and other aspects.

The program will also research responsible marketing practices as the IGI seeks to understand how companies can promote effectively without exposing the public to harm. Furthermore, the research will focus on creating responsible gambling program parameters and providing industry stakeholders with important advice.

Finally, the research program will also focus on educating industry leaders about the best practices they can adopt.

IGI Thanks ESPN for Its Support

Brett Abarbanel, IGI’s executive director, praised ESPN for the financial support it provided to the institute. She explained that the growth of sports betting means that the sector should be researched extensively.

The growth of betting and gambling subjects in US media has exploded in the past five years. So, too, have calls for extended research and thought leadership alongside this proliferation of content.

Brett Abarbanel, executive director, IGI

In an interview with Sports Handle, Abarbanel said that the partnership is all about investigating what are the best practices for how gambling is presented in media and sports media. She said that the partnership with ESPN is an “incredible opportunity” to tap into the expertise of an established organization. This will support the research and make sure that IGI’s work is grounded in reality.

Speaking of ESPN, the media giant is officially launching its ESPN BET platform today. The highly anticipated betting platform is a joint venture of PENN Entertainment and the Walt Disney Corporation-owned media channel ESPN. The new sportsbook notably represents Disney’s foray into the world of sports betting.

ESPN is currently one of the most followed brands on TikTok, attesting to the potential of the new betting platform.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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