Casinos are great right? Slot in a coin, pull a leaver, grab a free drink and maybe even leave with a massive win, what could go wrong?
The way that casinos are designed and functioned is actually really smart. Casinos use both science and hypnotic mind techniques to keep you engaged. No matter how amazing your system is or how well you know the odds, the house will pretty much always win… Even if you feel like you won.
So, how do casinos use science to keep us gambling? Even when you don’t want to.
Lighting And Music.
A 2010 study hosted by the journal of mental health addiction, used rats to test out different music and lighting conditions. It was found that when rooms were lit up with beams of coloured light and loud music was played, it would increase the brain’s arousal effects. But that’s not all, arousal results in a natural chemical called dopamine to be released into the brain, one of our bodies reward effects. Dopamine is released during dreams, sex, entertainment, etc. In short, fast paced music paired up with different coloured lights flying everywhere, makes us excited. It will encourage us to gamble more, as well as faster, if the player gambles faster he will lose track of his or her’s spendings, as well as losing much of their strategic thought during games like poker and black jack.
One last thing to note here is that the colour red has been scientifically proven to also make us more aroused, therefore casinos are more likely to use red; lights, tables and chairs instead of say blue or green.
The Illusion Of Control.
The illusion of control is simply that button you push, or that leaver you pull after you slip in your $5 bill. Immediately after you activate that trigger the slots will begin to spin, throwing out a pseudo random result. Our minds take this in such a way as if we are controlling the machine, when of course, we are not. Don’t you ever feel like you could have pulled the leaver a different way, or maybe bashed a few extra buttons before spinning the slot to make a better outcome? There is your illusion.
Free Food And Drinks!
Isn’t it amazing that the casinos are happy to hand you “free” food and drinks? I mean, nothing is better than free alcohol right? Well, you have probably already paid for the consumables twenty times over by time you manage to grab yourself a drink. I guess again this is just another illusion, you think you are getting some sweet freebies, when really you are not. The food and drink play a huge role in the casino. Apart from the “freebies” extending your respect for the casino, it is also there to make you not have to leave, why would you need to leave the casino to grab some food when you can just get it for “free” while you continue playing?
Everyone knows that too much alcohol prevents us from thinking straight. A drunk, or even slightly tipsy player is much more likely to go all in on their deck of cards than a straight thinking sober player.
Something that has been thought since the dawn of casino discrimination is that casinos pump in oxygen to make players more awake and alert, however, this is simply not true. Although casinos do in fact pump in different scents. Which keeps people, like we mentioned before, aroused. These scents are also used to make us remember the time at the casino, in attempt to get us to return.
Open Area “Playground” Design.
It used to be thought that maze-like confusingly layed out areas would result in better revenues in casinos, but it turns out that this is not true. Newer casinos are now being designed in such a way that areas are much more open and relaxed. Things such as fountains and sculptures can be common in modern day casinos, it adds a sense of class and higher placement to players. What else does expensive art make us think of? Money! Exactly what you plan to gain from the casino.
The old compact way of doing things made people feel more invaded and less spacious, but with the new open “adult playground” type layout, people aren’t afraid of anything, right? The new layout is found to be working extremely well, and mostly for women. It has been found that after the change in layout, women have been spending about 30% extra on average, keeping to their own space and having their own “adventure” aspect in the casino.
In older looking casinos practically no windows would be found, this is still sort of true to date. Some casinos may include large glass domes on the roofs of their buildings, throwing in natural light and ambience. However, it is also not uncommon for modern day casinos to put these large impossible to reach domes in place, but instead of using windows, adding in bright lights. This technique adds a sense of it still being an acceptable time outside.
Clocks are removed too, you will probably never find a clock in a casino, a casino wants you to be in an immersed environment where you don’t need to worry about time and distractions. Casinos don’t want you leaving, of course, so if you don’t have easy access to the time, you won’t be so hesitated to leave. People spend more hours gambling than they think.
It turns out that casinos have deliberately invested and designed the ugliest carpets possible, even if the carpet may be classy or clashed with colours it is still designed in a way to make you not want to stare. The effect that the casino tries to stop is simply distraction, which if we go back a step, is in par with the clocks. They do not want players staring down and falling asleep, they want to push their player’s heads back up and stick them back onto the machines.
Have you ever wondered around looking for the cashier booth, trying to transfer your well earned tokens into cash? Well that is the intention, casinos usually push their cashier desk to the back of the casino, maybe even into a corner. This is a simple attempt to try and make you walk past as many extra gambling machines as possible.
Another thing that they will do to try and put the desk out of site is to dim the light, sure the desk will still be lit up with some LEDs to make it fit in with the rest of the interior, but it will be no where near as eye catching as the poker area.