Monday, January 26, 2009
Time Stands Still: The Psychology of Casinos
On the face of it, it seems like a hard sell to get millions of people to part with vast amounts of their hard-earned cash with just a hint of ever getting any of it back. But since casinos are able to do it at increasing amounts every year, the question is, how?
Well, a lot of it comes down to design – casinos are designed to put visitors in a trance-like state where the bright lights, lack of natural daylight and absence of clocks keep them lulled into continually pulling out their wallets. There’s a lot that goes into insulating gamblers from consciousness: Music, for example, is purposefully reminiscent of supermarket Muzak, made up of mind-numbing top-40 pop and played on a continuous loop. Free drinks – alcoholic or not – and free snacks are another way to keep gamblers happy, contented, and ponying up the cash. Loyalty programs for frequent gamblers include free stays in hotels, free cruises, even hundreds of dollars staked by the casino to the gambler, keeping that gambler coming back time after time. [Image courtesy of PalmTreeWelder.]