Boyd Gaming Putting $5 Million Into UNLV Athletics

Boyd Gaming Putting $5 Million Into UNLV Athletics 1

Updated: 23rd July 2024

Boyd Gaming is pledging $5 million to the University of Nevada Las Vegas Athletic Department to create a Student-Athlete Excellence Center, fund improvements for the school’s softball field, and install a new video board inside the Thomas & Mack Center.

A $5 million investment from Boyd Gaming into the UNLV Athletic Department will help fund a new video board inside the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. (Photo: Blaze Lovell/UNLV Scarlet & Gray Free Press)

The university announced this week that it is the “largest corporate commitment in the history of UNLV Athletics.”

The relationship between UNLV and the gaming company goes back three decades. The school’s football field has borne the name of Boyd Gaming founder Sam Boyd since 1984 and the university’s law school is named after Boyd’s son and co-founder William “Bill’ Boyd.

“We are a company that believes in giving back to our community, and our long-term partnership with UNLV has been at the forefront of that commitment,” Boyd Gaming CEO Keith Smith said.

The Las Vegas-based casino giant operates 12 casinos across the Las Vegas Valley.

Where Is The Money Going?

In a press release, UNLV said that the Student-Athlete Excellence Center will offer leadership, health and wellness, and outreach services. Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois called the facility a “differentiator” for the university.

“It will allow us to support our entire student-athlete population, while graduating leaders prepared for lifelong success,” she said.

The scoreboard inside Thomas & Mack Center will be installed before the Rebels’ first regular season home game on Nov. 10. Reed-Francois said the new video board is an ode to the Rebel basketball faithful.

“Our fans are so important to us, we listened and are enthused to provide this new scoreboard to enhance the gameday experience at the Thomas & Mack Center,” Reed-Francois said. She added that the improvements to the softball facility will allow the team to “compete at the highest level of the sport.”

“This investment will carry Boyd Gaming’s legacy with UNLV Athletics forward to inspire the next generation of leaders across our great city and state,” said Boyd Gaming Executive Chairman Bill Boyd. “We believe in the vision of the leadership at UNLV Athletics, and are proud to know that Boyd Gaming will be closely tied to the Rebels’ emergence among the nation’s elite.”

The UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law is named after Boyd, who practiced law in Las Vegas until co-founding Boyd Gaming in 1975 with his father Sam.

Spending Season

The $5 million isn’t the only spending Boyd is doing. In fact, it doesn’t compare to some of the other checks the company has signed over the last 12 months.

The company agreed to pay $575 million to acquire four Pinnacle Entertainment properties last December and later bought the Valley Forge Casino Resort for $280 million.

Earlier in the summer Boyd paid $100 million to take over Lattner Entertainment and hinted at possible future expansion by raising $700 million in debt notes.

The company is also prepping a launch into the world of legalized mainstream and virtual sports betting. In August, Boyd announced a partnership with MGM Resorts, allowing both companies the chance to offer online betting services in states where it is legal and that have either a Boyd Gaming or MGM property. Boyd also announced a deal with FanDuel in which the former will provide the technology to offer online gaming in exchange for access to Boyd’s existing market, which spans seven states – Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

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