As the door opened, light filtered through the crack, blinding me. As I readjusted to the flashing lights within, the friendly workers came out and grabbed me, their glamour and appeal persuading me into handing over my wallet, my savings, and my dignity. They’re whispering “Come and play, you might win”, the monsters start directing me to the exchange booth, as I hold my sack of chips I follow the light and start to play. The waitresses walk by serving me exotic, colorful drinks, one by one dropping them off for FREE. I feel like I’ve played enough, I start walking out trying to find my way through the cluster of distractions, the monsters pull me in again. After all my chips depleted, I open the door and look up to see the stars.
The casino is a business with a plan, they do things to keep you there so that you leave with an empty wallet. Their tricks make a big difference, the University of Las Vegas says that there are “23 Vegas casinos bringing in over $72 million each in the 2013 fiscal year”. They gain that money by using tricks to keep people in, your money just isn’t as valuable when in the form of plastic chips.
Every minute you stay at a casino you spend more money, time flies by while you're engaged in a game of poker. You first place your bet, look at your hand, wait for the fifth card to flip over, bet once more and reveal your cards. You almost win. So you decide to play again, and again. You came in at 6 o’clock and leave at 12 o’clock. Why didn’t you look at the time? Simple answer: there are no clocks. The casino does this on purpose, they make sure you can’t keep track of the time. There aren’t windows either, you can’t witness the sunsets and sunrises, and it cuts you off from reality. You forget about your job, your loved ones and what you have to do, you just focus on the game.
Casinos are also full of distractions, they don’t want you leaving. “Gambling machines are basically big light ?xtures—they scream for attention” (Thomas), and they get it. Humans are attracted to shiny objects, metals, gems and slot machines. There are also sounds surrounding you, chips getting stacked, slot wheels turning. People everywhere shouting out their victory, making you want to win yourself. All the different activities around you make you want to join in, the lights make it seem like a joyful place where everyone claims victory. Casinos have all the lights to captivate you towards the game, it’s not just there for decoration.
Free, everyone likes free things. Casinos don’t seem free and they’re not but they give free meal coupons, and if you’re a big winner you get free suites too. You get treated like a king, making you want to stay. The best tactic a casino uses is free alcohol. There are waitresses swarming everywhere with trays of c***tails. Who would say no to free drinks, they make you feel like you’re getting something from the casino. After a couple of c***tails, you are more willing to use your money, “drunk people take more risks than sober people” (Cipriani). You make higher bets and you continue playing until you run out of chips. Alcohol is a powerful device in a casino.
Casinos are thoroughly thought out, the architects make the room seem like a maze. It’s hard to come out and everything is randomly scattered out. The machines and games don’t have a pattern to them, they are set in random places to confuse you. If you can’t find the way out why not stay? The bathrooms, restaurants, chip exchanges are all hidden in the back. You have to walk through all the fun and games before you get there, and it is enough time to reconsider if you, after all, don’t want to cash in your chips, or eat a snack. All these factors go into making sure you stay in the casino area where you get sucked into all the games.
It’s pretty hard to leave a casino with a wallet full of cash, even after you have a big win your adrenaline will just be boosted making you ready to play the next game. Don’t be surprised when you walk out of a casino and hours have passed, and the stars are out. You are going to be caught up in all the lights and free alcohol and that’s what casinos want.