How Casinos Are Designed to Keep You Gambling


When Casino hit theaters in 1995, it was a healthy return on investment for director Martin Scorsese. It brought in the crowds, starred underworld legend Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci (completing their partnership that began with Raging Bull), and took advantage of a moment when violent, profane criminality was back in vogue thanks to Quentin Tarantino’s breakout hit, Goodfellas.

Casinos are designed to keep you gambling as long as possible, making more money for the establishment every minute you’re there. So, they use everything from lighting to physical design to create an environment that is at once inviting and hard to walk away from.

For example, you’ll never see a clock on a casino floor. That’s because the people who manage casinos want you to lose track of time, and they don’t care about whether it’s day or night when you gamble. They also don’t want you to leave the premises to meet your basic human needs, like taking a bathroom break or eating.

They achieve this by using a combination of bright lights, joyful sounds, and scented oils to create a manufactured bliss that keeps you playing. They also offer comps and free stays at their hotels to give you extra reasons to stay longer and play more, making it even harder to step away from the tables. Plus, they’ll have cameras in the ceilings that can be adjusted to focus on certain patrons, allowing them to catch cheating and other suspicious behavior.