The gambling industry is based on a fundamental premise of making people happy about losing their money. Of course, we all gamble because we hope to win but because of the nature of the beast, we’re bound to lose more often than we win. So, casinos need to find ways to make even your losing visits somewhat enjoyable.
The other thing fueling casinos out there is the fact people are usually willing to spend more than they had initially planned. All they need to do this is the right incentive and all of a sudden the $100 we planned for the visit turns into $200. And, while we may discuss the morality of the approach, there is no way to deny that casinos always want you to spend more.
The best way to protect yourself and stay within your limits is by recognizing strategies employed by gambling venues and not falling for them. You can think about it as one big game that’s played between you and the casino. Forget about individual roulette wheels or slot machines; the house always wins if they can get you to hang around for long enough.
So, what are some of the most common tricks and strategies that casinos use to get you stay longer than intended and spend more money?
Bells & Whistles
If you’ve ever visited a casino (and the odds are you have if you’re reading this blog), you couldn’t have missed bright colors, strong lights, and loud noises. Also, most casinos attract beautiful waitresses and those that can afford it will treat you to nicely decorated drinks and food. All of this and more goes under what I like to refer to as Bells & Whistles.
All these shiny objects and beautiful people around you are a façade to make you feel better while losing your money. And, don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with it. At the end of the day, you’re paying for the whole experience not just to sit there and mindlessly stare into a slot machine screen. But, you also need to take things at their face value.
Often, casino staff will be very cordially and they’ll smile at you for no apparent reason. This is them telling you you’re very welcome and your business is appreciated.
Somebody’s Always Winning – and They Want You to Know It
In a casino, there is someone winning at every moment. They might not be winning for the night but in a moderately large casino, big wins will come in frequently. When they do happen, casinos will make sure everyone knows about it.
This is why you’ll keep hearing loud noises and happy music coming from slot machines all the way across the floor. The idea that someone has just won big is usually enough to fuel our imagination and convince us to stay a while longer as we wait for our luck to turn around.
Those who have been around casinos enough know that some machines will go crazy celebrating wins that could hardly be described as impressive. But, these celebrations aren’t really meant for the player playing the game; they’re more targeted at other players in the casino who will hear the happy music and see the flashing lights and associate them with big wins.
Nearly all casinos worth their salt give away free stuff, especially drinks. Of course, to get served, you’ll need to play, so there is nothing free about them, but it makes people feel better. Even if you end up losing, you’ll have some comfort in the idea that at least you got a few drinks out of it.
Sometimes, people will even visit a casino to take advantage of free drinks, thinking they’ll outsmart “the man” by playing little and drinking a lot. In nine out of ten cases, this proves to be an awful idea and that’s exactly why casinos will often let you have a few drinks on the house while playing very low stakes.
As the number of drinks increases so does your willingness to risk and, all of a sudden, you’re playing five times higher. People who built the gambling industry know the human psychology very well and you won’t beat them in their own game.
Slow Service Is no Accident
Perhaps you’ve noticed how sometimes it takes unusually long to get served in a casino. We usually brush it off with the thought that they must be really busy so it takes time, but that’s usually not the reality of the situation. Every moment you spend playing is money made for the casino, even if you’re winning big at the moment. They don’t care about that; they want you to keep going.
Of course, you can get served faster if the waitresses know you or you tip well because they’ll make sure to speed things along. But, in general, they’ll take their time and it is no accident. Casinos know that people may get upset about it but not to the point where they’ll stop playing, which actually works in their favor.
Free Play Coupons
Larger casinos will often send out free play coupons to the customers in their database to get them to play. On the surface, this is an excellent proposition because you can go in, try your luck for free, and, if you happen to win, walk away with the money.
But, this isn’t how it works in reality – and they know it!
Once you’re inside a casino, you’re unlikely to stick around for fifteen minutes and just leave, win or lose. Most of us will stick around for a while since we’re already there. So, once the coupons are gone, we’ll reach out for our own money. The moment you put in any of your own cash inside a machine or on the tables, the casino has achieved its goal. The promo was a success.
What’s even better, most of us will likely deny the fact that we spent $100 or $200 on top of what we got in free play, simply because, at some level, we do feel conned and don’t want to admit it. Casinos are counting with this and they want you to keep your gambling private. They don’t want you to feel bad about losing in the slightest.
Outside World Stays Outside
Once you enter a casino, it is as if you entered a completely different dimension. With all the bright lights coming from the artificial lightning and the machines, you’ll never see a ray of sun or moonlight inside the casino. Natural elements aren’t welcome inside.
The fact that casinos usually have no windows and the path to the doors is riddled with slot machines and table games is no accident. They want players to get separated from the outside world and become immersed with the experience. They don’t want you to worry if it is raining or snowing outside, as all these things could distract you from playing.
For example, you could drive down to a casino in the middle of the winter. If you notice it is starting to snow outside, it could cross your mind that it might be a good idea to cut your visit short and get home before roads get covered in snow. From a casino standpoint, this is bad for business. The way they see it, it is much better if you get up after a while, notice the weather is really bad, and decide to stay a while longer, until it stops snowing.
Disconnect From Everyday Life
Some have often criticized casinos for these things, claiming they are doing this on purpose, getting people to forget about the outside world. And, to an extent, this is true. But there is also the other side of the coin, where people go to the casinos to get away from what’s outside.
We could debate about how healthy or good this is, but the fact remains some people will find a sort of sanctuary inside a casino. It is their go-to place when they want to run away from outside problems and just have some alone time.
And, that’s another thing casinos are really good at. No one will disturb you while playing. Apart from a waitress occasionally bringing another drink, you’ll be left alone to enjoy your play. Unless you require some assistance, casino staff will let you play in peace. They realize that most people just want to be left alone and not asked any questions and they will almost always respect it.
Disclaimer: I’m Not Saying Casinos Are Bad Guys
This blog may read as me trying to paint casinos in a bad light but that’s not what I was going for at all. At the end of the day, the gambling industry is what it is and I won’t be the one to call it bad or good. It is down to each one of us personally to figure things out on our own and decide just how much we should or shouldn’t play.
What I wanted to achieve with this blog is simply underline some things most of us already knows. Casinos do use certain strategies to keep us playing more and that’s a part of their business strategy. Staying aware of these tactics and recognizing them for what they are can actually help players enjoy their time in a casino more.
And, that’s the main goal of this and all other blogs I write. As someone who enjoys an occasional gamble, I want to share my own thoughts, ideas, and experiences with others, hoping some of them will help those who read about them lose less, win more, and, in general, have a more enjoyable time on their next visit!