Casinos are a billion-dollar-a-year industry. Part of the reason that they make so much money is that they have learned how to play with their customer’s minds in order to keep them at the gaming tables.
The casinos aren’t hypnotizing their customers. At least, not in the full sense of the word. But they have carefully designed their casinos in a way that leads people into spending more money. Land-based casinos use lights, music, architectural elements and design techniques to create an environment that keeps you on the gaming floor. Online casino players don’t encounter such subterfuge but if you’re in an on-site casino venue, watch out!
Here are some of the strategies that casinos use to keep your money pouring into the casino:
Clocks and Windows
The absence of clocks and windows is an old, but still useful, trick. The casino wants to create an atmosphere of timelessness for their gamers. They don’t want to give you any reason to pay attention to the hours that are flying past or even the passage or night to day and day to night.
So you won’t find anything that tips you off to the passage of time. Even the lights give the impression of daylight and the carpets are light-colored. Obviously you can still wear your watch and carry your cell phone but the casino is counting on the fact that if design elements that signal time aren’t visible, you won’t think about it too much.
The only time that you see real money in a land-based casino is when you cash out. Otherwise, you are just playing with chips. Casinos have learned that people find it much easier to bet big when they are using chips as opposed to actual currency. The losses don’t sting as much and it’s more fun.
Many casinos even let you load money onto a card which you can use to play digital games. That’s another way for you to lose track of the amount of real money that you are actually spending as you blithely hand over your card for another and another round.
Every inch of the casino is well-thought out in terms of architectural design. The way that the casino is laid out is meant to keep you playing more and more games. Bathrooms are strategically placed deep inside the casino so in order to use the facilities, you need to walk past dozens of gaming machines and tables – and then walk by them again on your way out.
Want to find the exit? Same thing……it’s not easy for the same reason. The casinos want you to wander around as much as possible so that you have more and more opportunities to play an extra game or two. And if you’re looking for the cash-out station, you’ll be looking for quite a while since the more you walk around, the more you play and the more you spend and the more you lose!
In general, the casino is intentionally designed to be labyrinthine. The paths aren’t straight and logical but are curved and maze-like. They have you wandering around so you pass multiple gaming sections, regardless of where you wanted to go.
Even if you’re headed towards the roulette table or a blackjack game you’ll have to pass slot machines and other enticing gaming options that are there to convince you to stop and try a round of roulette or throw a few dollars into a video poker machine.
Every time someone at the casino hands you a free drink you probably think “oh, how nice.” But you can be sure that the casino is handing out drinks for a reason. The more you drink the more your inhibitions go down and that means that you’ll be playing more.
Drinking alcohol results in impaired judgement. That’s why the casinos serve alcohol non-stop, delivering the drinks right to you as you sit watching the sports screens, at the slot machines or the game tables.
Room and Board
There’s no anonymity in a Vegas casino. Increasingly, the big casinos are using facial recognition software to track players so they can identify which players are worth an investment. In addition to the drinks, if you spend enough money, the casino will remember you and will try to entice you to keep playing by offering you free room and board in the adjoining casino hotel and casino restaurants.
Now you don’t have to leave the premises at all. Not only are you more likely to gamble more but you’re more likely to stay and play at THAT casino, rather than take your chances at another casino venue down the street.
People do win at the casino and when they do hit a jackpot or enjoy a hot streak the casino puts on a big party. Lights flash and whistles blow to alert the entire gaming floor that someone has just hit it big. The message is clear – “this could be you, so keep playing and the next party could be for you.” The fact that someone else’s win doesn’t affect you at all isn’t part of the equation.
Casinos offer Rewards Clubs and Loyalty Programs to create a sense of “family” and keep players loyal to the casino. The programs allow you to “earn” points for every deposit that you make. You can use your points for casino give-aways such as free meals and discounts on hotel accommodations.