Behavioral Science in Land Based Casinos
Gambling has been a part of entertainment since the earliest human civilizations. Ancient texts mention various dice games, or games of chance, which involved players staking their cash. It is impressive that the practice has endured for millennia. Gambling hit its apex in the 1600s when Italy’s first casino saw the light of day.
Pretty soon, these gambling establishments were widespread throughout Europe and the world. Since the first casino, these establishments’ managers and owners have found ways to keep players engaged and satisfied. In this article, we will explore how behavioral psychology can serve as a tool to benefit land-based and even online casinos.
The Mechanics of the Games Themselves
The games themselves are a huge part of why gamblers return to casinos. We are all aware that casino games have a “house advantage.” In other words, the chances for the player to win are much lower. And yet, we still return to the games, thinking there is hope. The reason for that is simple. The games’ designs entice us with promises of victory.
More than just land-based casino games do this; online ones. For example, if you ever play at online casinos with only $10 minimum deposits, you will find that the lower minimum deposit makes it possible to play more games. The more bets you place, the better the website’s traffic and the online casino ultimately benefit.
Also, the more you play, the more likely you believe it is to win. In reality, slots, both land-based and online, payout randomly. So, your chances don’t grow significantly the more you play. For that reason, most experienced gamblers recommend that if you want to win, you should set up a bankroll and never go beyond it, no matter what.
Once you enter a casino, you should know everything inside is designed to make your stay and play. The modern brick-and-mortar gambling establishment designs create a relaxing atmosphere with a lovely interior. The idea is to create a feeling of safety so players can feel good about spending their cash.
In 2012, Wired writer Jonah Lehrer interviewed one of the pre-eminent interior designers of the time, Roger Thomas. The article explored the psychological effects of a casino’s interior and how casinos use psychology to generate more revenue. In the article, Roger Thomas explains all the tricks he used to create a space that encourages people to spend more money.
Thomas revealed that casinos were largely male-centric. Darkly-lit rooms, bourbon, cigars, etc. were the most prominent aspects of the casinos’ interior design. However, Thomas noted that it was women that gambled more often. So, to appeal to the demographic, he redesigned the casino to appeal to a more feminine audience. And it worked. The casino generated more revenue in the year after its redesign than it had in quite a while.
The Roger Thomas interview is fascinating and explores how interior design can impact our psychology as customers and gamblers. The exciting thing is that it isn’t just casinos that do this. Almost every business does its best to appeal to most of its target demographic. If you are a sports fan and you’ve ever been in a sports pub, you might have noticed a minimalist, almost Spartan atmosphere. Music shops have a ton of decorations and posters depicting classic bands from the genre the shop specializes in. These are just a couple of examples, but business, interior design, and psychology are invariably interlinked.
Hopefully, we don’t have to go too much into the connection between alcohol and behavior. Anyone who has ever had one pint too many knows that our inhibitions are not the same when we are inebriated. For years, casinos have been using alcohol to entice more players to spend more money. If you need proof, look no further than the complimentary drinks that most, if not all, of Las Vegas’s most popular casinos offer.
Inebriation leads to mild sedation and lack of coordination. More importantly, it lowers our inhibition. So, when we are drunk, we not only do things we wouldn’t usually do, but we don’t think about the things we do as thoroughly as usual. The way this might benefit a casino is obvious.
These are just a few ways casinos use behavioral psychology and science to maximize their revenue. So, now that you are familiar with these uses, the next time you visit a casino, you will be more mindful of them. Set up your bankroll, control your alcohol intake, and admire the gorgeous interior without being mesmerized. If you do so, you are sure to have a great time.