The House wins every time. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it.
So, how do casinos still rake in your hard-earned money to the tune of more than $200 billion per year?
All casino owners have a big book of tricks they integrate into their casinos to ensure that you’re spending the most time and spending the most money possible.
Most of these tricks are psychological; meaning they’re intended for you to not notice.
If you’re an avid gambler, learning these tricks can help you recognize them and understand what factors you’re at odds with. Being above a casino’s trickery could help you walk out with more money than when you walked in.
So, what are these tricks? Let’s dive in.
Giving You the Feeling of Control
Casinos excel at giving you the feeling like you’re in control of the game, even when you’re not.
Games like blackjack, craps, roulette, video poker and others are all geared to help you feel like you’re making an active action that will help you win the game.
If you’re playing blackjack, you get to choose whether to hit, stay, split, or other actions. While these may slightly affect your chances of winning the hand, you’ll never win in the long term.
In craps you’ll feel the excitement of picking up the dice and rolling them, thinking that if you get just the right spin or throw you’ll have better odds of winning the game. The reality is that you’ll never be on the winning side for too long.
This illusion of control over your money is what drives people to stay longer and spend more. They’re designed for you to think that you’ll end up winning more if you spent more time at the table.
These games are still better than any form of a slot machine, which leaves you with no control whatsoever. However, be warned that no matter how in control you feel, you’re almost certainly not.
You Always Feel Like You’re Winning
Even if you’ve got no money in your pockets, casinos will do their best to make you think that you’ve left as the bigger winner.
Comps are the name of the game. If you spend enough time gambling with a casino, you’ll feel like you’ve fooled them.
Free drinks, meals, rooms and more are all employed by casinos to help you feel like you’ve not completely wasted your money.
Some casinos even utilize tiers of comps and you save points you earn from losing to gain bigger benefits.
Many of these higher-tiered comps will include VIP packages and extravagant bonuses, but don’t be fooled – the cost is never worth the benefit.
Comps can be a harmless bonus to going all-in with money you’ve already set aside to lose. But, a frequent gambler may be fooled into spending more money for the sake of comps.
Free Drinks = Free Money
There’s a reason why casinos constantly offer free drinks to their patrons – it pays off huge.
Free drinks are, by far, the most common comp given to gamblers. And, for the most part, gamblers will happily agree.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a free beer, but the casinos know you better than you might think.
It’s already fairly common to grab a drink while you’re gambling, you’d have to be above 21 to enter anyway. The casino is betting on that and wants to fuel your bad decision making.
One drink may turn into two, three, or four. Regardless, as soon as the first drop of alcohol reaches your lips, your judgment has been at least slightly impaired already.
Casinos want you to feel like you’re at the best party in the city. Creating this type of party atmosphere helps customers want to stay longer and enjoy themselves.
Whether that be on drinks or gambling, it’s more money for the casino.
If you’re a serious gambler and want to play your best game, it’s always a good idea to avoid alcohol and see through their tricks.
Casinos Mislead You
If you’ve been to a casino, you’ve seen the large, vibrant, and inviting signs that say “98 percent payback,” or something similar. You’ll find this sign over a large area of slot machines.
A 98 percent payback means that one of these slot machines will, eventually, pay you back 98 percent of the money you spend on them.
The hard part is finding that slot machine that has a 98 percent payback.
This tactic is frequently used to fool customers into thinking that just because they’re in the high payback area, they’re on a high payback machine. In reality, you’re probably playing on machines that payback a much lower rate. Typically, there is only one machine in that area with that high of a payback rate.
Online casinos are also guilty of constantly misleading their users. If you’ve used an online casino in the past, you’ll see the slew of bonuses that are available to you when you sign up.
What they don’t tell you is that most of these have a required amount of money you need to gamble to be able to claim this “free” money and deposit it.
You’ll also frequently find that online casinos will ‘hide’ their Terms and Conditions and make them extremely difficult to find. If you’re an online casino gambler, always ensure you know the rules and regulations behind every decision you make.
They Want You To Lose Track Of Time
Everyone knows this, yet it still is a large factor as to why casinos succeed.
Casinos intentionally remove all the clocks, and sometimes even windows, from their floors. This is one of the oldest tricks and the book and almost everyone knows they do this, yet you’ll find dozens of gamblers losing their entire day, and wage, to a casino.
Granted, this was more effective before the time of smartphones. Back in the day, if the casino didn’t have a clock or windows, you’d never know what time it is until you’ve left.
This was incredibly effective at helping gamblers lose track of time so they spend more of their day with the casino. It’s also especially impactful on those who are on vacation. You’ll find an emphasis on this if you’re at a resort or vacation spot. The casino knows you don’t have anything to do that day, so they want you to spend all of it there.
Nowadays, most people can glance at their smartphone and know the time, so it’s not as effective. However, that’s why there has been an increased focus on interactivity – to keep you from checking your phone.
In the end, it’s all about making time feel like it’s passing as slowly as possible.
You Don’t Feel Like You’re Spending Your Own Money
You’ve probably noticed that you don’t typically slap a wad of cash down on the table to enter a game, much like actors will do in movies.
You’ll frequently be gambling via chips, tickets, or cards. You see it in most card games, chips will be strewn across the table and they’re all different colored. Outside of the casino, they mean absolutely nothing.
Casinos want you to feel like you’re not spending your money, they want to disconnect you from any attachment you have to it.
It’s easy to lose some plastic chips. Usually, they don’t mean everything.
But, if you slowly see your hard-earned cash waste away out of your hands, you’ll be more tempted to stop and leave before you lose your money.
These chips and tickets are also used because they resemble many other fun or worry-free games. If you’re gaining and losing chips, it resembles playing a game. If you feel like you’re playing a game rather than risking your money, you’ll be more likely to freely lose it all.
Slot machines that take tickets use tickets because they’re easier to manage than having to constantly offer change to anyone who wants to use the machines. They’re also used because it separates you from your money.
Once you’ve bought in with the tickets, it’s easier to use them then have to go redeem them back into money. It’s also similar to visiting a fair and purchasing tickets. They want you to feel like you might as well use all of them since you’ve already purchased the tickets.
The Carpet Is Gross and Ugly
Yes, it may be gross and ugly because of all the spilled drinks and other debris that frequent the casino floor.
However, more goes into making the carpets and decorations ugly and displeasing than you may imagine.
You’ve probably noticed the zigzag, hard-to-look-at patterns that smother the floors of most casinos. These patterns are specifically used so you don’t want to look at them, casinos want you to lookup.
If you’re looking up, you’re probably looking at the game or machine that you’re gambling with. If you’re looking at it, you’re more than likely going to interact with it. That means more money for the casino.
Beyond the disorientating patterns, colors are also used to make the floor hard on your eyes. You’ll often find a deep, maroon-looking, ugly color smeared across the floor. Much like the patterns, you’ll find, the color also keeps the carpet looking ugly and dissatisfying.
Don’t let the carpets fool you into spending more money than you know you should.
It’s An Adult Playground
Traditionally, casinos were meant to be built minimally.
This goes back to the days of no windows and a maze-like structure to them all. This was intended to make gamblers feel like they’re lost within the casino and help them spend more time gambling away their money.
This was standard, especially in Vegas, for decades. And, it worked. People were spending much more time in the casinos than without the confusing twists and turns.
However, casinos have found this isn’t the most user-friendly approach. While it may work once or twice on someone, customers aren’t feeling like they’re welcomed at a casino and it will leave a bad imprint in their minds.
In modern times, casinos have switched to creating a much more friendly and inviting atmosphere. They want an entertaining environment to prey on the psychology of humans. This new atmosphere will help customers come back as well as spend more frivolously.
Gambling has also been more associated with the upper echelons of society in modern trends. In the past, gambling wasn’t as luxurious to the average person and was seen by many as dark, and seedy places to spend time.
With this friendly, more modern approach, customers feel like they’re living in luxury and are expected to spend extravagantly.
In the long-term, this provides the casino with more customers and more of those customers are willing to spend a large amount of money to live a perceived higher-class lifestyle.
The Dealer May Seem On Your Side
If you frequent a casino, you probably have your favorite dealer.
They’ll warmly welcome you as you step inside and almost beg you to come to sit down at their table and take a load off.
These dealers love to talk your ear off, get to know you, ask about your day, and, in general, want to be your friend. Some may care for you, we’re all humans. However, it’s their job to be friendly to you.
Casinos want their employees to be your friends, they want you to feel like you’re meeting up with your buddy for a drink after work. They’ve likely been told to “put on a great show” right before they hit the floor during their pre-shift meeting. All of this is done in the effort to make you feel comfortable spending your money.
Beyond being friendly, they’ have a slew of tactics.
Dealers are known to think they know much more about gambling than they do. You’ll often find one giving out advice as often as they can. Sometimes, they know what they’re talking more. More often than not, they’re just talking to keep you playing.
Fake optimism is also a favorite trick of the dealer. By constantly encouraging you to keep playing or to fix your strategy, they’re enticing you to continue to play at their table.
If you think “My dealer wouldn’t do that,” then you’re wrong.
Dealers expect you to tip them when you win big. That’s part of their income.
They’ll keep you at that table long enough for you to win big, cash in their tip, and then watch you lose it all while they pocket some of the winnings that you now wish you had.
In the end, you won’t ever come out on top when you’re playing against the House.
But, casinos can be a fun and entertaining way to pass a few hours on the weekend or when you’re on vacation.
If you find yourself frequently visiting the casino, make sure you take note of all the tricks and inner workings of a casino so you can be aware of what they’re trying to do you.
By the end of it all, you might at least break even.