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7 Ways Casinos Are Using Psychology to Their Advantage

It goes without saying that casinos are a big business. Standing on the sidewalk of the Las Vegas strip, it’s difficult not to feel totally overwhelming by the shadows of those legendary buildings – The Venetian, Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace…

The same goes for any other of the world’s most renowned gambling destinations, as far flung as Macau, Monte Carlo, and Marina Bay (to name just a few).

Still, architectural prowess is only one part of the story. Beyond the fountains and the glamour, the industry has spent decades perfecting the unique world that exists within the halls of these casinos, in order to ensure that their players come, stay – and then stay a little longer, too.

1.     Time Doesn’t Exist

Have you ever seen a clock on a casino floor? How about windows? If you have answered ‘yes’ to either one of these questions, then you are part of a small few, since the overwhelming majority of casinos actively work to remove any ‘concrete’ sense of time or place from their halls.

The idea behind these interior design choices is simple: players who lose track of time will almost invariably stay longer. They will settle into the unique world of the casino, and be far less likely to feel the pull of the outside world if they remain free from the stare of the clock, or the tell-tale shadows of evening at the window.

This is why, these days, so many fans of gambling prefer playing games online, where it is in many ways that bit easier to coordinate gameplay with the rest of life’s demands.

If this trick of the trade sounds familiar, it might be because altering our sense of time is also a behind-the-scenes secret of many supermarkets – one that encourages us to stay, browse, and buy more than we might have intended.

2.     Stimulation

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think of a casino floor? The flashing lights of the slots? Those unmistakable sounds of change clattering into the drawer? The electronic beeps and whirrs of the machines? A boldly patterned carpet that snakes around the players and leads you deeper and deeper into the maze of the casino?

All of these images have at least one thing in common: they are designed to stimulate the senses, to keep our minds sharp and active and prevent us from losing interest, or growing tired before the night is through.

In some casinos, they even pump in additional oxygen just to ensure our minds stay as active and present as possible.

3.     Where’s the Door?

If you’ve ever managed to get yourself lost within a casino, then take comfort in the fact that you are certainly not the only one. These labyrinthine halls are intentionally designed and decorated in a way that keeps us feeling enclosed within the microcosm of the casino.

If we want to leave, no one is stopping us – but, bear in mind that we will have to wander past rows and rows of tempting games and, in all likelihood, end up making a few detours (and spending a few extra tips) before we finally make it to the door.

4.     So Close, but So Far

If you’ve been playing the same machine for a while without a great deal of luck, chances are that, eventually, you will begin to flag. You might start to lose attention, or consider upping stakes and wandering into a different casino in search of better chances.

This is where the near-win comes in handy.

Let’s say you need the classic ‘three cherries’ and, after plenty of unfruitful (pun intended) spins, you get two cherries. It’s not a win, but it feels close, right?

In reality, those two cherries are as useless as any other non-winning spin, but it may just be enough to tickle the senses of a tiring player, and keep them spinning for another stint.

5.     Broadcast News

What’s more encouraging than a near win? A win, of course – even if it doesn’t happen to you personally.

In casinos, big wins are cause for celebration – everyone in the vicinity will know about it when a player hits the jackpot. They might be treated to a free drink, a song and dance – anything, provided it is loud, flashy, and overt.

For the nearby players, this offers a boost – and something of an incentive to keep going. Whether it’s borne of a desire to get the same treatment that guy got, or the sense that ‘luck is nearby’, many of us will experience a boost after seeing a neighbour win big.

6.     A Closed Word

Let’s talk about theme. Whether they take us to ancient Egypt or Greece, the sparkling waters of Venice or somewhere totally futuristic, the best casinos in the world all possess the power to transport us elsewhere, from the moment we step foot through the door until the moment we leave.

More so than a room of machines and croupiers, casinos offer a destination far-removed from anything we usually encounter in everyday life – and that makes us even more inclined to stay that bit longer.

7.     Exclusive Indulgence

Casinos evoke a sense of luxury that, for the most part, we don’t get to experience in any other aspect of life. The glitz and glamour afforded to the casinos high rollers is, for many of us, a paradigm for opulence – and an experience we covet.

From comping free suites to the high rollers, to offering a few on-the-house treats to those of us who are still considered ‘low rollers’, casinos understand that offering small perks for our loyalty (however big – or small – we spend) is one of the best ways to encourage further loyalty, and more hours played at their tables and machines.

It is a running theme across many of the world’s best casinos, and for good reason.

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