How Casinos Conceive the Casino Environment

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Casino is a game of chance, where the house always wins. But what makes rational people — those who work hard for their money and make reasoned financial decisions on a day-to-day basis — gamble away thousands of dollars based on the roll of a dice, the spin of a wheel, or the flip of a card? There is no one answer, but casinos are experts at designing an environment that is at once welcoming and difficult to step away from. They use sounds, lights, and physical design to trick you into spending more money than you planned.

The Soundscape

Casinos control the sound environment with a mix of upbeat music and sounds that mimic real-life experiences. They play upbeat songs to encourage people to feel excited and hopeful, and they use ringing bells to recreate the sound of winning. This is intended to entice people to place more bets, because hearing the sound of winning can make people think they have a good chance of doing it themselves.

The lights in a casino are designed to look the same both day and night, so that patrons can’t tell what time it is without looking at their watch or cell phone. They may even paint the ceilings to appear the same color as the sky during the day. This is to confuse your sense of time and location, making it harder to leave the casino.

Free drinks are offered to players because they know that alcohol decreases inhibitions, making people more likely to take risks and spend money. They also know that people who are tipsy will be more likely to make bad decisions, which can lead to big losses for the casino.

Gambling mathematicians (or “gaming analysts”) are hired by casinos to determine the house edge and variance of a particular game. This information is critical to the casino’s profit margin. If a casino doesn’t know its house edge and variance, it will have difficulty predicting its profits accurately and making sure its cash reserves are sufficient.

To increase a player’s likelihood of continuing to gamble, the casino will offer it free goods and services such as rooms for the night, meals, show tickets, and limo service. These rewards are called comps. They are based on the amount of money you wager and how long you stay at the casino. The more you spend, the higher your comp level. These bonuses are not as valuable as the money you lose at the tables, but they can help to offset your gambling losses. In the long run, you’ll come out ahead if you can learn to resist the temptation of comps and continue to make smart gambling choices.