How do casinos trick you into feeling like you’re winning, even when you’re not? How do they get your money out of you even if you don’t gamble? From psychological tricks to behind-the-scenes technology, here are 10 things casinos would prefer you never think about.
10 – No clocks or sunlight. It’s a pretty simple equation – the more time you spend in a casino, the more money you spend. Casino games take your time as much as your money. Like binging a great show on Netflix, you can lose a whole day and not even notice.
That’s what the casinos want. There’s a psychology behind keeping you isolated from the outside world. Seeing a clock will remind you that you’ve spent 5 hours at the casino. Looking out the window and seeing that it’s dark will spur you to leave. And if you leave, you are no longer spending money there.
9 –Stealing Dealers. The bad news is, dealers have been caught stealing.
The good news is, they’re stealing from the casino, not from the players. The most common method of theft is simply stealing chips. One woman stuffed 3 thousand dollars worth of chips in her bra – six chips at 500 dollars each.
And she did it on an elevator, under video surveillance. Another dealer at a UK casino had a false pocket where we would slide chips that went all the way down into his socks. Then he would go out on a smoke break and give the chips to an accomplice who would exchange them for cash.
8 –Scent Science. Almost nothing that you see in a casino is by accident. The height of the ceilings, the position of the lights, the smell on the floor. Everything. But the scent science of casinos isn’t as simple as you think. Scent is strongly tied to memory and emotion, so it isn’t as simple as just drawing people in with the scent of popcorn or freshly-baked cookies.
Scents are blended and pumped into the ventilation systems to reflect the location of the casino. Then they are focus-tested to see which scents tend to drive more spending and gambling. Even your sense of smell is being psychologically manipulated.
7 –Labyrinth Design. Much like grocery stores, casinos are laid out in a very deliberate sort of way to get you to wander through them and spend money in places you wouldn’t normally. Unlike grocery stores, casinos are not laid out to let you know where everything is. They’re labyrinth-like mazes of flashing lights and confusion. You’re not likely to get LOST in a casino, necessarily.
If you really want to get out, it’s easy enough to do. But in the meantime, if you’re just wandering around on the floor, you’re much more likely to run into a shiny wall of something new than the exit.
6 –Tables are a better bet. Slot machines have the biggest payouts of any game on the casino floor. Put a dollar in, win a million, right? And on top of that, they’re also the most visually attractive. Why do you think that is? In addition to having the worst odds of any game on the floor, they are also the game in which you have the least control. You simply start the machine, and the outcome is predetermined. At table games like blackjack, you can at least make decisions that affect the outcome somewhat.
5 –Always Watching. In a large-scale casino like the Bellagio, there are probably about 2 thousand cameras on in the casino at all times, with roughly 50 monitors displaying the footage on demand. Obviously, a few security personnel can’t watch all 2 thousand cameras at once. But the footage is kept and archived, so if there is any evidence of cheating or theft, they can reference the footage.
4 – Near wins. Near-wins are a deceptively strong weapon. To a gambler’s brain, an “almost win” provides almost the same rush as an actual win… even though it’s a loss. In other words, if a slot machine comes up with two 7’s instead of three, what it basically tells your brain is, “Hey, we almost won, just need to play a little more to win big!”. In reality, those near-wins are programmed into most slot machines to keep people playing… because a near-win is still a loss, and loss still means losing money.
3 –Can’t Cheat the House. Casinos are on the forefront of security. They watch everything from every angle. The simple act of counting cards? They’ve seen that a billion times. There are people coming in and trying to defraud casinos with disguises and false identities, so they’ve invested in facial recognition technology.
They’re constantly covering all the angles. If you think you’re going to walk in and outsmart the house, think again. They’ve probably already busted someone else trying to do the same thing.
2 –Draining the non-gambler. Casinos aren’t just places where you play gambling games. They’re huge entertainment hubs, with hotels, restaurants, bars, and even live entertainment.
If you’re spending time at a casino, they’re going to find ways to separate you from your money. • Hidden fees and marked-up services are two of the most popular ways to do it – and while that’s true of all hotels to an extent, hotel casinos are among the worst offenders.
1 –The Psychology of Chips. If you’ve learned anything from this, it’s that casinos will use any dirty, subtle, psychological tricks they can to lift your money off of you. The use of chips is one of the most insidious. We all know what money feels like, right? It’s metal coins, or paper bills, or plastic cards. But casino chips? Chips don’t feel like money. Their purpose is to DISGUISE the value of money. That’s why a one-dollar chip is the same size and weight as a 25 thousand-dollar chip. You might think twice about putting a stack of hundred-dollar bills on the table for a bet. But one little, innocent chip?
That doesn’t seem like much at all – even though it’s the same amount. Furthermore, to leave the casino, you have to cash out. And that means you have to take your chips into the casino and cash them out… walking by countless other temptations on the way.