Psychological Tricks and Designs That Make Casinos So Addictive

Casino may be Martin Scorsese’s most violent movie, but it also lays bare the corrupt empire of gambling that controlled Vegas in the 1990s. Its tendrils stretched into politics, Teamsters unions, Chicago crime gangs and a host of other institutions, all of which benefited from the revenue that casinos drew away from other forms of entertainment in town.

While most people don’t consider the design of a casino when they place their bets, every detail is engineered to keep gamblers spending more money and craving coming back – even though the house always wins in the end. Explore some of the psychological tricks and designs that make casinos so addictive, below.

To create a manufactured sense of bliss, casinos waft scents through their ventilation systems and use upbeat music to create an ambience that makes gamblers feel joyful. They also arrange the tables and machines in a maze-like pattern to confuse patrons and keep them gambling. They offer free drinks because they know that alcohol decreases inhibitions and makes people more likely to take risks and spend more money. They also know that near-misses, such as a close call on a slot machine, can keep players coming back for more.

Casinos also invest in technology to improve security. They monitor the games with high-tech eye-in-the-sky systems; betting chips have microcircuitry that allows casinos to oversee them minute by minute and quickly discover any statistical deviation; roulette wheels are electronically monitored for any tampering or cheating; and video cameras watch every table, window and doorway.