You stride into the casino brimming with confidence and your wallet full of cash. You have plans for a bit of enjoyable, sensible gaming and two rounds of cocktails. But hours later, you don’t know what time it is, or what happened to your money. This is what happens to everyone at a casino. It is the result of casinos’ carefully-crafted marketing strategies that use sounds, lights, and physical design to create an environment that is at once welcoming but hard to step away from.
Whether it’s the flashing lights or the cheers from fellow players, casinos elicit feelings of jubilation and euphoria to keep their guests gambling. Even the smell of money – casinos often waft scented oils through their ventilation systems – is designed to make people feel at home in their establishments and encourage them to gamble for longer periods of time. Similarly, the lack of clocks in casinos is intended to help patrons lose track of time and spend more money.
But these are just some of the many strategies casinos employ to turn people who work hard for their money into blind chancers. Others are more subtle – such as the way casino dealers shuffle and deal cards and the expected reactions from table players. These established patterns are harder to break, but they can still cause players to lose a lot of money. In addition, casinos can rig slot machines to give players near-misses that can be very satisfying.