The Top 12 Casino Psychology Tricks Used on Players
There’s so much more going on in the average casino than meets the eye. However, most of us tend to be aware of only what’s happening on the surface; we see only what the casino wants us to see. Our senses are dazzled by the lively atmosphere that is complete with lights, sounds, drinks and food, which keeps us entertained and comfortable, feeding the thrill and hope that we’ll be the next big winner. Happily, we move around the casino floor completely oblivious to the fact that these gambling establishments are employing casino psychology tricks to keep us playing and spending more.
There’s a reason why the casino almost always wins. The following are 12 tricks casinos use to manipulate gamblers into playing for as long as possible.
#1No clocks and no windows
If you don’t wear a watch to the casino or you forgot your phone at home, good luck finding out the time. Time has no meaning in a casino. You won’t find a clock in sight and there are no windows or skylights to help you determine if it’s light or dark outside. Casinos are purposely designed to look the same, regardless of the hour. Whether it is 3am or 3pm, the atmosphere is unchanging. When you’re in the casino, your internal sense of time shuts off. All that exists is a now that stretches on until you leave. Players who don’t know the time aren’t in a hurry to quit playing.
Most customers of casinos will agree that these gambling establishments have the gaudiest carpets around. Believe it or not, these brightly colored carpets, with wild swirling patterns and psychedelic designs, are no mistake. They are, in fact, another one of the casino psychology tricks that keep players alert and happy, encouraging them to play more. A garish carpet won’t lull your eyes to sleep; it will shock them back to wakefulness.
#3Bright lights and pleasing sounds
Casinos are a symphony of non-stop sound, lights and color. Flashing slot machine lights and happy, up-beat noises captivate players and boosts their moods, making them feel excited and hopeful that they could win. All the machines, no matter the one you play, is alive with sound and lights, drawing you in and encouraging you to continue placing your bets. In addition to sound effects and other noise, most casinos also play a soundtrack of music that is pleasing to the ear. In some cases the music may be soft, repetitive and easy listening, for the purpose of putting gamblers in a trance-like state. While sometimes music may be upbeat and stimulating.
#4The casino floor is built like a labyrinth
You’ve had a good time and you’re ready to leave the casino. That’s when you realize that you have no idea how to get out. You start making your way through the maze of tantalizing slot machines and game tables, only to find yourself encountering more of these tempting traps at every turn as you search for the exit. The confusion you feel as you try to figure out the labyrinth-like design is normal, and it is one of the age-old tricks employed by casinos to keep players gambling. Casinos are virtually void of landmarks, making it easy for you to get lost. This, in addition to alluring games, can make it difficult to leave.
#5Services are strategically located within a casino
Hungry? Need to use the bathroom? Want to cash out your chips or ticket? No problem. Just be prepared to encounter lots more tempting casino game action along the way. Restrooms, the cashier and restaurants tend to be situated deep inside the building. You won’t have trouble finding them, but they’re purposely located deep in the casino so that if your next step is to leave the establishment, when you’re finished with these services, you’ll be forced to walk past a sea of eye-catching gambling entertainment during your long walk to the exit. This trick is the casino’s last ditch effort to snag the customer willing to make that final impulse bet.
#6Play with digital credits, not with cash
Although your gambling adventure may begin with cash, after you feed your money into a slot or video poker machine, your cash becomes digital credits. Without inserting actual cash into the machine, every time you make a bet, it’s easy to forget how much you’re spending. Once you cash out from the machine, a ticket is printed with your remaining balance. Since you’re not holding physical paper money in your hand, it’s easy to feed that ticket into another machine and keep playing. The only way to get your winnings or your cash back is to visit the cashier. Casinos make it easy for you to play, but not easy for you to walk away.
#7Near wins keep you spinning for the jackpot
If a machine or table never paid out the occasional small win to players, casinos would lose the interest of their customers. To keep them happy, how casinos manipulate players (into thinking that they have a shot at winning big) is by having the machines tease players with near wins and appease them with small payouts. Players will continue to feed their money into the casino, thinking that they’re close to the big win. In other words, while you may need three cherries to win the jackpot, perpetually spinning two cherries isn’t getting you any closer to the win, even though the casino has you convinced otherwise.
#8A sense of control
Some casino games are designed to provide players with a feeling of “control.” For instance, Craps lets you roll the dice and Keno lets you pick your numbers, while Blackjack and other card games let you decide what move you’ll make after the cards are dealt. This illusion of control can fool some gamblers into thinking that they have a higher chance of winning, which can result in them playing for longer.
#9Everyone sees the big win
If you visit casinos often enough, eventually, you’ll encounter a player hitting the jackpot. You’ll know when it happens; everyone knows. All the bells and whistles go off, lights flash and the staff show up to administer the win. Drawing this kind of attention catches everyone’s interest and is among the very cleverest psychological tricks of casinos. The reason is that it pretty much guarantees that the same single thought will run through most of the minds of all gamblers who witnessed it: “If they can win, maybe I can, too.”
Free drinks aren’t like other freebies from the casino, or like other tricks casinos use to trap players, for two major reasons. First, alcohol affects the brain, slowing it down. Even a player who doesn’t get drunk can still make poor decisions under the influence of alcohol. Second, gamblers who are buzzed or drunk are far more likely to be liberal with their money. Essentially, alcohol corrupts the way a gambler thinks, which is often a detriment to them but a benefit to the casino. Free booze is arguably the dirtiest tactic used by casinos to encourage gamblers to spend.
#11Free perks for loyal players and high rollers
Just like free drinks, casinos are also known to give away other freebies to loyal players, especially to high rollers (the big spenders), their most important players. Some of the free perks offered to players may include free hotel rooms, luxurious suites, food, tickets to shows, and other prizes. All of these comps that the casino gives out “free” to players, make players (both low and high rollers) feel important. They feel that they have gained something even when they’ve lost, which makes it more likely that they’ll return. The reality is that whatever casinos give away in perks, they make back hundreds of times over from the same people awarded the comps.
One of the more bizarre tricks is casinos reportedly use higher levels of oxygen in their establishments to help keep players awake. Pumping in this extra oxygen from pressurized tanks, help gamblers to free refreshed and alert, which enables them to gamble for longer, without getting tired. There has also been talk that some casinos even release pheromones, which would promote feelings of comfort and euphoria, making the environment all the more appealing and addictive.
Keep these casino psychology tricks in mind the next time you visit the casino and use this knowledge to your advantage. You’ll have a far more gratifying experience and a lot more fun when you remember that, no matter how much a casino might try to trick you, ultimately, you are the one in control of your actions.