Casinos use a variety of ingenious techniques to encourage people to play longer, more frequently, and for higher stakes.
You will never see a clock on the wall in any casino. Management doesn’t want you to leave the table to run off on a date or worry that you’ve wasted too much of the day playing or think you should get it ready because it’s getting close to bedtime.
Along with the lack of windows in casinos, the absence of clocks helps create an unreal, timeless atmosphere removed from everyday reality, where it is all too easy to follow the path of least resistance and keep playing until the money runs out. This atmosphere is reinforced by the ever-present beautiful cocktail waitresses serving free drinks.
It has been said that the most brilliant invention in the history of casino gambling is the use of chips instead of money for betting. When you bet those plastic pieces, it is easy to forget that they represent real money. If you bet on currency, a player is likely to consider more carefully before risking a week’s wages on a roll of the dice.
The use of chips is another element that contributes to the unreal feeling that so much of the Las Vegas experience has: the atmosphere that requires one to act without weighing real-life consequences.
Chips are also used to encourage players to increase their wagers.
When a player is winning substantially, the dealer will start paying him or her with higher value chips. For example, if the player bets two five-dollar chips on a Blackjack hand and gets a natural, the dealer may collect the bet and give him a $25 chip in return. This practice is known as coloring. The dealer partially follows this practice to prevent his chip stock from being depleted in a single denomination. However, the procedure has a more subtle purpose. Before long, the winning player who had wagered five-dollar chips may find that all his money has been converted into $25 chips. As we have seen, it is generally a good strategy to increase your bets when you win. Make sure you do it because you want to, though, and not because you are being subtly pressured by the house. Remember, you can always ask the dealer to return your chips to a lower value.
No detail is too small to be considered by casinos in their never-ending quest to win your money. The placement of slot machines is also carefully thought out.
There are always rows of slots easily accessible from the long lines that form as people wait to enter the showroom. If the wait becomes tedious, the machines are there to provide a little diversion. Similarly, in many casino cafes, if you want to go to the bathroom, you have to leave the restaurant and wander through a long maze of slot machines to get there. If the last time you snacked in a casino cafeteria, your girlfriend excused herself to go to the ladies’ room and took forty-five minutes to return, now you know why.
Of the many strategies both overt and subtle that casinos use to encourage you to play, none is more complex than granting free items to players.
To drum up business, a casino might be willing to offer you not only free drinks, but free food, free lodging, free transportation, free shows, free gifts, and even free money, meaning that casino credit to players is given without interest.