- Associated Press - Monday, May 12, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - What started off in a college course at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas could soon be the next big thing on the casino floor.

More than a dozen student ideas refined through UNLV’s Gaming Innovation class are working their way through the patent process, and one of them is in negotiations to be sold.

“I was impressed by the students’ ingenuity,” said Mark Yoseloff, the former CEO of gambling company SHFL Entertainment and professor of the course. “They started off with raw ideas which, when refined, evolved into remarkable products with enormous potential.”

UNLV officials say the first class was offered last fall, and has flourished this spring under Yoseloff’s guidance. Other gambling industry leaders have served as mentors and guest lecturers in the course.

The program launched with a $250,000 donation from the Yoseloff Family Charitable Foundation, and got an extra boost from the John Kish Foundation, which provided prize money for a gambling invention competition.

UNLV Hotel College student Hien Nguyen won first place and $3,500 in the contest for an idea she co-created with Yoseloff. Called the Chinese Domino Video Wagering Game, the invention is a new way of determining slot machine winning outcomes using elements of Pai Gow tiles.

Nguyen, 20, is now in talks to sell the game.

The university is planning to build on the success of the program this fall by launching a Center for Gaming Innovation, which will vet gambling ideas and help community members get them off the ground.

The project is supported by the state’s Knowledge Fund, which promotes research in sectors Nevada has targeted for economic growth.

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