The psychology of design is one of the most fascinating aspects of art. It’s the “why” behind some of our most beloved and treasured visual pieces. It’s the cornerstone of the emotions elicited, as well as the driver of interaction.
One place we tend to overlook when it comes to this kind of practice is the casino. Casinos use every play in the book to get one thing: your cold, hard cash. They’re ingenious in their methods and often go uncredited or unmentioned when it comes to the applications of design.
Whether it be neuro-linguistic programming, color theory, or forced stimulus, casinos have the upper hand from the set and setting alone.
Here’s how they do it.
The Original Plan
Over half a century ago, a gentleman by the name of Bill Friedman put together the guidelines on how to set up a casino. He detailed the very base of how every physical casino would subsequently be designed. For that, he’s a pioneer and a relative genius. The only issue is, it was all geared towards getting our money.
Low ceilings and bland decor are always a staple. The flooring of the gaming areas is often ignorable or even unsightly colors. Mind you, this is the exact opposite of online outlets that allow you to play real money keno or online poker. In the Friedman principle, the most appealing thing in the room should be gambling equipment. Compared to the new digital realm, it seems a bit outdated. But casinos used this for decades and still stick to it.
In 1995, a guy named David Kranes likened the casino to a playground. He pushed for more wide-open spaces and “freed up” options while still maintaining the appealing allure of the gambling machines. This gave way to the modern Las Vegas we know today. If you can recall, in the late 1990s, Vegas revamped the look of the entire strip.
It became an entertainment hub with video games, roller coasters, secret adult shows, and of course, high stakes gambling for all. All of a sudden, Vegas casinos wanted people to feel good about being there as opposed to just leaving with racks of cash. This was largely due to Krane’s principles.
One design principle that has carried over from the physical to the digital realm is the use of lights and sounds. The reward anchors are very much a psychological “trick” that recruits multiple senses to allow for a certain feeling to set in.
When we’re in a casino, we can be inundated with all sorts of high energy stimuli. But for some reason, we narrow our focus to the single machine in front of us. This is because the use of sound and light trigger the release of a brain chemical called acetylcholine, which triggers focused activity on a given task.
There are all sorts of ways that a casino can design their way to profits. In the end, though, it’s up to you to be in there or not. Options like online games with real money have been growing due to its ease of use and massive profits. When it comes to money, the choice is truly yours.