Land-based casinos come in all shapes and sizes, and the public definitely has a stereotypical image of the industry. But not every casino looks like the big Strip casinos you see in movies.
That image is cultivated, and it contributes to the flood of emotions that some problem gamblers feel. For everyone else, the glamour and the noise of the crowd heighten our excitement, too.
Even on a slow night, a large, popular casino gives the appearance of being ready to stage a ball or celebration. It’s an ongoing party, 24/7. Most people enjoy the rush of walking through the doors, hearing the ring of the slot machines, and the excited crowds standing around the craps tables.
But there’s so much more to the modern casino experience than the cultivated sights and sounds. Visitors expect to be pampered, treated like royalty, and have all their basic needs fulfilled.
So, why do local players enjoy going to the small casinos? The industry is large enough to have something for everyone. I’ve visited many casinos, large and small, in winter and summer, in northern and southern climes.
Although I have my own ideas about why people love land-based casinos, I looked around to see what others say. Here are the 4 most popular reasons people love going to the casinos either when they travel or when they get off work.
1 – Everybody Knows Your Name
Many people who play at their local (smaller) casinos say they enjoy being greeted by name by the staff. They also mention how polite and professional casino staff are when they’re regulars.
This is a necessary skill for anyone who works in a public place, but some companies enforce the standard better than others. The casino industry in general has earned a reputation for hiring polite, discreet staff.
On the other side of the coin, many casino workers complain about certain types of customers who are rude. Casino employees may be required to endure a little nastiness every week. Hence, they appreciate polite and thoughtful customers (not to mention tips).
Good customers aren’t just people who contribute to the company’s profits. They also treat employees with respect and don’t create problems. Staff members will remember you kindly for your good behavior.
Hence, local land-based casinos have an advantage over tourist destinations because workers can get to know the regulars and establish good rapport with them. I’m sure this is one of the main reasons why smaller casinos can do well even in crowded markets.
2 – The Food Is Good
Sure, I’ve eaten sandwiches at a few roadside land-based casinos that felt and tasted like they were days old. But maybe I just picked the worst times to eat. I can definitely think of a few bad meals I’ve had from pretty much every restaurant where I’ve been a regular customer for years.
I’ve been invited to lunch a few times by friends and co-workers who drove the extra few minutes down the road to a nearby Native American casino. The buffet was excellent and far better than what you’d find at regular restaurants in town.
Casinos know that if you enjoy the experience, you’re more likely to come back. The buffet isn’t just a loss leader, it’s also advertising. You have to walk past all the casino games to get to the food, and that’s purposeful at most casinos.
3 – Most People Feel Safe in Casinos
Although crime can happen anywhere, the security available at land-based casinos reassure most people.
If you’re in a strange town and want some entertainment, a local casino is usually a great place to spend a few hours. They’ll do what they must to keep their customers safe and happy.
Whether you’re truly any safer at a casino than other venues isn’t the point. If people feel safer there, they’ll enjoy going back more often. It’s simple psychology.
When thrill-seekers seek out danger, most of them do it in a controlled environment. They don’t really want to stroll through a violent crime-infested neighborhood with wads of cash in their hands.
A few years ago, I worked with a woman who spent a lot of time at a nearby casino. I asked her if she won much and she said she broke even most of the time.
So, why did she keep going back? Because the part of town where she lived didn’t have much to offer in the way of affordable entertainment.
It wasn’t a bad neighborhood, but it was surrounded by bars and cheap motels. She didn’t feel safe in those areas when night fell.
4 – The Climate-Controlled Environment Is Unparalleled
When I was a kid, we spent a lot of hot summer days at the local cinema. While I still enjoy watching a good movie in the theater, it’s not the same experience for me. The last time I was a regular movie-goer was when I was in college.
As the weather heated up, I found myself spending more spare time in cinemas and shopping malls. The air conditioning made the days pass comfortably.
A few winters ago, my wife and I were bored at home. There was snow everywhere in our town, and it was a risky drive to go very far even though the snowplows were working.
So, we drove over to a nearby casino. We parked in a decked garage, so the snow didn’t cover our car. Then, we strolled inside where our heavy coats were immediately too warm.
I can’t get a room at a shopping mall, and most movies last about two hours if even that long. The casino offers a full evening of distraction, good food, and comfort.
The night we went, we thought the place would be deserted. We were lucky to find a covered parking space. It turned out a lot of other people had the same idea. Luckily, our local casino offers plenty of room, so we were able to head to our favorite section and play slot machine games.
The bottom line is that we love to hang out at places that make us feel safe and create an enjoyable experience.
The rush of playing games in a casino comes and goes. That’s the danger of spending too much time in a gaming venue. But I’d say the euphoria and excitement gamblers feel are no different from what sports fans enjoy on a long weekend.
There’s no shame in admitting you enjoy the crowd, the lights, the noise, and the gaming. We love going to land-based casinos because they can be a lot of fun.