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Three differing strategies casinos use to cause visitors to gamble more


9 Jun 2018

As with any physical shopping outlet, online store or even websites such as this, once a visitor has found their way to the location, one aim is to keep them there as long as possible.

This obviously doesn’t mean hold them hostage against their will, but in most instances, the longer a person is on the premises, the more money they are likely to spend.

Casinos have adopted multiple strategies to achieve this end result and this stretches from their initial design to tailored techniques during games.

Next time you visit casinos, here are some ways your customer experience may have been manipulated to keep you playing for longer than you initially intended.

Layout and decoration

Look up onto the walls and there will certainly be no clocks in sight. The intention of the casino is to get you to lose track of time, as well as your money.

Windows will not offer views of the outside world anywhere near a gaming floor either, for similar reasons. You are generally far more likely to consider going to bed if you notice that it is pitch black outside.

Without clocks or windows, running out of money may be the time you decide to head back to your room. This is the point you realise it is 5am and that you have been playing for seven hours straight.

Exits from the casinos are likely to be hidden away from the gaming floor too, beyond a maze of slot machines that act as a barrier to the outside world. Again, this is so you are less tempted to leave.

Where do you cash out your chips, eat or go to the toilet? Probably somewhere even further from the exits, which require you to walk past all of the slots and table games one more time before calling it a night.

Throw in the stimulating flooring, lights and sounds throughout and perception of a happy and attractive place is intensified.

Free stuff

Everyone loves free stuff. How many samples have you taken over time when using the train network or spending an afternoon in the local city centre?

It is a running joke in my family that my granddad would happily receive a bucket of cow dung if he discovered that it was free or that he was entitled to it.

The same tactic works in casinos and to a higher level, as the free stuff being offered is far more enticing than a small bite of a pretzel or a shot of a new drink about to reach the market.

Where else could you expect to down alcohol at your own pace and not even have to queue up to order it? In fact, the casino would probably relish the thought of you having four whiskey chasers in 45 minutes.

It may seem that the only cost to you is a small tip for the cocktail waitress to have taken your order and brought your drink.

However, the casino is banking on the alcohol negatively impacting your ability to make rational decisions. This is likely to lead you to staking more – both on individual bets and overall as a grand total.

The money the casino theoretically loses by giving you a free or heavily discounted drink is often more than recovered, with interest, in rash losing wagers.

We’ve previously assessed the positive and negative impacts of drinking alcohol when playing casino games here.

The freebies extend beyond alcohol too, with many casinos offering comps to loyal players.

These could be free meals, hotel rooms or show tickets and are a strong marketing tool for a casino to tempt you to either visit more frequently or play for longer.

Want to boost your chances of joining the comp club on your next visit? Here are 10 tactics that may assist you.


Is there a larger lure to carry on playing than the frustration of almost winning? Instinctively, the adrenaline will be pumping and you’ll be ready to go again.

This is especially true of slots, where you could be one reel away from a life-changing jackpot.

Meanwhile, play roulette and you may be nudged towards making a specific bet by a board of recent results.

Should the board show that the last five winning spins have all been red numbers, logic would suggest that a black number is now due.

This is what is known as gambler’s fallacy, which is a mistaken belief that because something has happened more frequently than it should in one moment, it will occur less than it should in the future.

In roulette, the result of one spin has no bearing on another. Every spin is independent. Yet, players could be swayed into thinking different when being reminded of recent results.

Would you be tempted to wager on red if randomly walking past a roulette wheel and seeing that the last seven spins have all been black?

Furthermore, the colour of the chips you are paid out in following a win could be a factor on your betting strategy.

Say you are betting one red £5 chip and you win £50. But instead of being paid 10 reds, you get paid in two green £25 chips instead.

If you receive the 10 reds, your betting plan is unlikely to change. But the casino is hoping that by giving you the greens, you’ll bet them as if they were red.

You could, of course, ask them to be changed to reds or put a green in your pocket to be cashed out later, but most will be manipulated towards upping their stakes and betting £25.