The concept of a perfect gambling place where people would leave their money without regret has been created by industry professionals for decades.
The interior of the casino, the way the employees behave and the internal rules are created with a single goal in mind: to attract and keep players for a long time.
Let’s talk about the top 10 psychological tricks used by Casinos such as the colors used, the number of visitors and even the smell that can affect the players’ desire to stay in the place as long as possible. Although this article is about physical casinos, you will see that some of these tricks are also used in online casinos.
Mark Griffiths, a British psychologist specializing in the field of gambling-related disorders, has conducted several researches on the design of Casinos, but has yet to find evidence to substantiate the well-known conspiracy theory that mentions the absence of windows and clocks in these leisure spaces and that they cause people to lose track of time.
However, Griffiths, who has been studying gambling addiction since the 1990s, has noticed a number of surprising factors that may affect the way people spend their time and money in casinos.
What do you think really goes on in Casinos? Most probably, you imagine the movie “The Hangover”: Black Jack players placing their bets to the sound of Flo Rida’s “Right Round” music. In casinos designed according to this image people would be placing their bets vigorously and actively. Mark Griffiths did an experiment with 56 volunteers where he asked them to play roulette but changing the lighting and background music. The combination of red lighting and music with more rhythm caused players to bet faster compared to the normal lighting and calm music environment. The fact is that players associate red light and fast-paced music with sexuality and high stakes.
The number of visitors is another factor that affects gamblers’ behavior. In 2009, scientists at the University of Guelph in Ontario in Canada conducted a survey: a group of 484 people of both sexes played in a casino. The scientists focused on how the gamblers reacted to different stressors, including other people playing next to them. When the room was half empty, the women spent more than they had planned. What was the reason? Probably, women tend to act more calmly when they know that someone is watching their actions.
Dr. Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, has done studies concerning how smells affect players. When slot machines are scrubbed with a pleasant smelling substance, these machines have a more than 50% profit over those that are not impregnated with these products. The smell can excite players, making them stay longer and spend more money. Many smells can cause sexual arousal which, according to research, leads to a “more aggressive behavior pattern”; in this particular case, to more aggressive gambling.
In addition, architects build Casinos with windows blowing away the conspiracy theory about Casinos without “windows and doors”. Ethan Nelson, president of Steelman Partners, a company that protects dozens of Casinos a year, states that this makes the rooms more energy efficient and so that they are more like a resort. A notable example of this is the wonderful view of Chicago from the Horseshoe Casino.
However, the claim that casinos are designed as little mazes for the player to wander from one table to another seems true. David Canter, a British psychologist who studies the connection between architecture and people’s behavior, compares casinos to shopping malls.
“I don’t think architects want to make casino rooms complicated on purpose. However, the idea is to make a person feel absorbed by the building. That’s a good feeling.”