The Psychology Behind Casino Design

The Psychology Behind Casino Design

Mere walking into a casino is an exhilarating experience. The luxurious ambiance that was so carefully designed to entice, the wide smiles of casino staff who will cater to your every need, the sweet smell of opportunity mixed with the aromas of freshly made food and drink. Once there, it is so easy to lose yourself in the music and flashing lights, and lose track of time. And that’s exactly what is expected of you – to forget about time while waiting to catch the eye of Lady Luck. 

This strategic approach of casino establishments is to have a design that will keep you in your seat. Let’s take a closer look at how exactly the interior arrangement plays on the weaknesses of human psychology.

Meet Bill Friedman 

The casino design that is today labeled as “classic” has been, for the most part, advocated by this gentleman – Bill Friedman. Bill is very much in love with the gambling game, but his wins don’t only come from the games he plays. He managed to turn his addiction into research and shape many of the casinos we enjoy visiting today. 

Once he figured out what keeps the players inside, he was a welcomed lecturer at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, a casino executive and consultant. The book Stripping Las Vegas: A Contextual Review of Casino Resort Architecture states: “The only relevant consideration for casino design are these: What percentage of visitors gamble? What percentage return to gamble? Nothing else matters.”

If you’d like to go deeper into the matter, Friedman communicated his knowledge in a book of his own called Designing Casinos to Dominate Competition. Here we’ll focus on the most prominent approaches that hide behind the intricate casino design that soothes the senses and brings hope of that big jackpot. 

No clocks, no windows

Indicators of time such as windows or clocks will remind you of your external obligations and you’ll feel the guilt and the urge to commit to them, leaving your game. However, if there are no clocks to distract you, and no windows so you can see the time of day, you won’t have the feeling you’ve been in the casino for too long and you’ll stay. 

The labyrinth-like design

Has it been challenging for you to find your way to the restrooms easily or the way out of the casino? Well, it’s purposefully so, and you have Bill Friedman to thank. The labyrinth-like structure in which the passages are constructed out of gaming machines and tables are narrow and winding, designed to make you wander and explore, and hopefully a new interest will strike your fancy and you’ll forget about leaving. With your line of vision reduced in such a way, the focus stays where it should be – on the game. 

A feast for the senses

Bright lights and slot noises, abundant smells all play on our senses, and we absolutely love it. The pleasant sound of pennies dropping is ever-popular, although few types of slot machines today actually use coins. Certain smells are often let through the ventilation systems, especially in casinos with the playground design. Surprisingly, it all comes together in a pleasant, harmonious environment – nothing like a bustling beehive you might expect. 

Intimate settings

It is not easy to cater to everyone’s needs when it comes to atmosphere, so the Friednman design of casinos suggests a gambling establishment should have something to appeal to all sensibilities, adapting the psychology of space to the casino environment. Having many smaller rooms with different vibes allows everyone to find a setting to their linking. Besides this, it creates a feeling of intimacy which players prefer. In areas with a lot of seating, he implemented low ceilings so there’s not a lot of empty space above the player’s heads, thus creating a feeling of an evening sky. Combined with adequate lighting, carpeting and music, you’ll definitely have that cozy feeling you’ll want to keep while chasing your jackpot. 

Gamble as soon as you arrive

Once the player sets foot into a casino, there’s no time to waste. They should be enticed at once and start enjoying the games available. That’s why playing stations are positioned immediately inside the entrance – to make it clear to players they are inside a casino, surrounded by opportunity. 

The efficiency of Friedman’s 13 principles has definitely boosted the casino industry. And before we wrap this up, here are a few honorable mentions:

  • Principle 2: Gambling equipment placed in casino entrances beats empty lobbies
  • Principle 4: The maze layout beats long passageways and isles
  • Principle 8: Low ceilings beat high ceilings
  • Principle 9: Gambling equipment should be used instead of impressive and memorable decor.

So, there you have it. These are some of the reasons why quitting while you’re ahead is easier said and done. Nevertheless, enjoy the full, rich experience, manage your budget well and never give up. That jackpot might be just around the corner. 

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