How the Casinos Use Psychology to Keep Us Gambling

Hypnosis Spiral With a Casino Floor

Casinos are magical places, as close to an adult amusement park as you can get. The casino companies have taken painstaking steps to ensure that guests have the maximum amount of fun and continue gambling for as long as possible.

Everything is a carefully measured play for our money, from the carpets’ color to the brightness of the lightbulbs. Let’s look at how the casinos use psychology to keep us gambling.

The Evolution of Casino Design

Over the last 20 years, casino design has shifted in a new direction. Many of the casinos that hit you between the eyes with vast banks of slot machines before now offer a warm and welcoming foyer.

The classic elegance of the casinos from yesteryear has been traded or upgraded to today’s opulent casinos.

Although, a certain elegance still exists to at least some degree in all modern casinos.

Aria Las Vegas Lobby

Bill Friedman is considered to be the first pioneer of casino design. Friedman believed that players would stay longer and come back more often by making the user experience as stress-free as possible.

His research and analysis have proven to be extremely profitable. In fact, many chains of grocery stores have used Friedman’s casino principles in their own design.

Check out how casino design tricks are keeping you on the gaming floor longer than you might like.

Time Is Not on Your Side

Time doesn’t exist on the casino floor. It’s no big secret that you won’t find a clock in the casino.

Without the benefit of a regular time check, gamblers are in no rush to get to dinner or rush up to bed. The only time casinos want you to be concerned with is the now.

By keeping gamblers in the now, the fun and excitement of the gaming are enhanced. I’m sure most of us have lost track of time while gambling in the casino.

I learned a valuable lesson about keeping a tab on time pretty early in my gambling career. I had driven through the night to a casino in Shreveport with a friend. We got to the casino around midnight and hit the blackjack table with the plans of gambling for a few hours and getting a room. Later, my friend wanted to take a stroll out to the car for some fresh air. The sun was up. It hadn’t ever occurred to us to take a peek at our watches and check the time.

We had been gambling for approximately eight hours, and only when faced with the realization that neither of us had slept in over 24 hours did exhaustion set in.

More experienced gamblers, or perhaps just those with more sense, would have called it a day. We decided to extend our session by another six hours and only pay for one night in the room.

By lunch, my friend was asleep on the bar at one of the restaurants. I was explaining to security and law enforcement how it was sleep deprivation and not intoxication.

Do yourself a favor, set a timer on your phone. Whether it’s for taking a break for dinner or to notify you’ve reached your predetermined time limit.

Take away the casino’s advantage and keep more money in your pocket by watching the time while you gamble.

Magic Carpet

I’ll never forget how proud I was of my first apartment. I was the first of my friends to move out of mom and dad’s and live solo.

So, I was devastated when my dad took one look at the rug that I was going to make payments on for the next 36 months and asked, “What casino did you drag that out of?”

Even as a teenager, I understood that casinos are known for having some of the ugliest floorings on the planet.

Casino Hallway Ugly Carpet

The casinos don’t have the ugliest flooring because they’ve spent their carpet budget on neon lights. It’s all part of the carefully designed and well-executed plan to keep you gambling.

The casinos don’t want you to fall asleep at the wheel; the bold designs and bright colors are designed to be a jolt to the system.

From the lack of windows to the crazy patterns of the floor, casinos use our brains against us in the fight to hold onto our money.

Enter The Matrix

Becoming disoriented or losing your friends at the casino doesn’t make you unique. In fact, it’s all part of a master plan.

If you can’t find the exit, you can’t leave. I can’t count how many times I’ve walked away from the tables towards the exit, only to find that I have no clue how to get out.

Then, I see a lonely blackjack dealer in need of my company. Just like that, I’m $100 lighter in the wallet and twice as hungry as I was an hour ago.

Bellagio Las Vegas Lobby

I’m not alone; casinos use their massive size to their advantage. The maze of table games and slots lock players into the action for as long as possible.

On my last trip to visit Las Vegas, our group lost a member that had stopped for a pull on the progressive slots. He actually stuck to one spin but lost sight of us and sat down at a table to play some baccarat.

He eventually caught up to us but was devastated by the extra losses he incurred.

One-Stop, Non-Stop Gambling Party

Land-based casinos are the party that never stops. The non-stop action creates an electric atmosphere that is contagious.

I’ve seen a player walk up to a dead craps table. Within 15 minutes, the boring table is suddenly the epicenter of the entire casino.

Often, it’s the result of a player going on a hot streak. Nobody is getting too excited over losses, not even the casino.

The casino knows hot streaks, and they understand that winning is good for business. When we see a player win a significant sum of money, it subconsciously gives us a modicum of hope.

Additionally, by keeping the action going 24/7, the casinos are able to cash-in a variety of other ways. After all, all that gambling is sure to work up an appetite.

The trick is to satiate gamblers’ hunger without allowing them to leave the casino. Here’s why you’ll find so many restaurants located just off the casino floor.

The same goes for bars; the casinos use the electric atmosphere for breeding a synergy among casino guests.

You’ll be far less inclined to call it an early night when your comfortable bed is a short elevator ride away. You’ll also be more likely to indulge in the alcohol, no better way to loosen the inhibitions of a tight gambler.

Oh, So Close

If slot machine players never got those incremental wins, they’d quickly move on to using their money on something else.

The games the casinos use are designed to lure players in with near wins and small amounts. Occasionally, a player will hit a substantial jackpot, and the entire floor goes wild.

Far more often, a player comes just shy of hitting a huge payday. Coming close to hitting it big only reinforces the players hope that they will win a huge pot before the day ends.

Imagine you’re at a slot machine that needs five leprechauns to trigger the massive bonus jackpot. A player could hit four leprechauns, which awards a small handful of coins or a few free bonus spins.

Wynn Casino Slot Machines

The player isn’t really coming within a hair from winning a massive prize. In fact, the odds between scoring a nice win and a large prize are often exponentially different.

The brightly colored and exciting game is as much a part of the well-designed decor as the immaculate sculptures or incredibly expensive-looking furniture.

It’s all there to make you feel like you’re lapping it up in luxury and stay distracted. Have you ever been playing on a slot machine when suddenly you slap the spin button, but nothing happens?

It’s easy to become distracted to get so invested in a game that you forget all about the steady drain on your bankroll. Don’t take it personally; it’s only business.

Casino Freebies Galore

People love a bargain. Perhaps the only thing some people love more than a deal is a freebie.

The casinos cash in on that fact in several different ways.

Probably the most obvious freebie in most casinos is the complimentary drinks. Patrons feel like they’re offsetting their losses by the free drinks.

Conversely, the casino sees it as an easy way to lower players’ inhibitions. At the very least, it keeps gamblers having fun and playing longer.

Of course, there are the serious casino comps like meals, show tickets, and rooms. These loyalty perks will often entice gamblers to extend their session or even raise their bet amounts to obtain more of the freebies.

Obviously, the amount of money lost by the average gambler far exceeds the actual dollar value of many such perks. So, the casino is actually making money by giving away all of the goodies.


Look, very rarely does somebody get so enthralled in the casino gaming that they never leave. However, by understanding how the casino uses psychology to keep us gambling, you’ll be able to make a cleaner break.

When you stick to your limits and keep your wit, you’re much better positioned to head home a winner.