How gambling distorts reality and makes you lose track of time

By Iasmina Bunea updated:

Have you ever noticed how quickly time flies by when you are engaging in a pleasant activity? That is normal and it happens every time you are in good company, having fun, or playing or watching a game you like. However, when it comes to gambling, there are many efforts put into making players lose track of time and money while they are gambling. Here is how gambling distorts reality and what you can do about it!

How land-based casinos distort reality to their advantage

The gambling industry has evolved greatly since its beginnings and you can see that in all the ways land-based casinos successfully distort reality and make their customers play more and spend more. They have studied their clientele for so long and with so much interest that they are now carefully manipulating every detail of the casino environment in order to hook players. Here are the most important things all land-based casinos do and you may not be aware of.

1.     No way to tell what time it is

If you have ever gambled in a brick-and-mortar casino, you have probably noticed the absence of windows. And no, this is not to protect the identity of the people inside, as many may not want to be seen gambling by someone they know. The lack of any windows is to not allow you to see outside and notice time has passed, the sun set, or that it started raining. This way, you won’t be wondering what time it is anytime soon.

Land-based casino

If you do wonder, you’ll realize there are not clocks on the walls, because the more time you spend in the casino, the more money you will lose. If you are not wearing a watch, you will not think too often to pull out your smartphone and check the time, as you will be too entertained by the games and the atmosphere.

2.     Casino scents – smells like jackpots

Fragrances were first used in casinos to mask the odor of smoke, but today, they play an even more important role. Numerous studies conducted by psychologists have shown that scents trigger memories, and influence emotions and behaviours.

According to Mental Dominance, a book written by Ha-ha Lung and Christopher Prowant, guests at the Las Vegas Hilton are influenced by floral scents to spend 50% more time playing. Each casino has its signature smell and you will notice that it is the same in every location of that brand. The smells are not the relaxing kind, as no one comes to the casino to relax. Rather, they use invigorating scents, but also ones that alleviate anxiety, as players have to be confident about their gambling.

3.     Interior design and how nothing is randomly picked

Most casinos look very similar when it comes to the interior design, even if there are some notable differences, the overall atmosphere is almost the same. Have you ever wondered how come they manage to look so similar while having different layouts and furniture? The secret is in the details.

Slot Machine

Colours are used strategically chosen to evoke the idea of an after-hours attraction, even in the middle of the day. The décor is rich in colour and you can notice velvet reds, greens, timid yellows, and warm browns. Bold shapes and colors draw the attention to the casino’s floor, where the magic happens.

Keeping the player’s attention to the floor, where all the games are, is so important that not even the carpet is randomly selected. Casino carpets would be rather untasteful if placed in other establishments. However, in casinos, they are perfect. Floral motives, rockets, rainbows, they are loud and they do have a strong impact on the customers’ subconscious and the overall atmosphere of the place.

Vegas Slot Machine

Even if maybe you never notice the furniture in a gambling establishment, you should know that casinos spend a lot of money on designer quality seats and couches. This has nothing to do with exquisite taste, but with the need to make players comfortable and allow them to sit for hours and spend more money. Bathrooms are adorned with luxurious accessories that make ladies feel exquisite while powdering their noses.

The space is also used effectively. Even if, as you look around the room, you will see a huge number of slots and table games, they are placed in a way that gives every player privacy and the chance to be in their own little world while they’re gambling. Too little space and the player becomes irritated and might even move to a different game or leave the establishment.

4.     Lights and music – the duo that gets dopamine flowing

Casinos have a few tricks up their sleeves even when it comes to music and lighting. The music you hear in casinos is nice, but have you ever noticed when the song changed? Probably not, because the tracks usually have no lyrics and they are similar in tempo, allowing for a seamless change between songs. This also contributes to keeping the player from realizing how much time has passed.

If they were to play entire albums, by the time the first track is playing again, you might realize you’ve been there for a while. Therefore, the songs are carefully picked and the volume is never too loud allowing the casino games’ sounds and chatter to also be distinguished. This mix may sound annoying, but when you are there, you will notice it is actually stimulating, makes your brain release dopamine, and you will feel ready to start playing.

Lights and music on land based casino

The lights are dim and the slot machines have colourful and bright lights dancing on and around their screens, making them even more appealing. The ceiling usually has small lights on it as well, and in some places it even imitates the night sky.

Online casinos and their efforts to hook players

Now that you know what to expect from a land-based casino, you are probably wondering how online casinos manage to do the same without having a physical place to use at their advantage. Well, some things still work online.

When gambling online, the clock is always present whether you use your personal computer or a mobile device. There is no specific scent and no interior design that can draw you to keep playing. However, manipulating lights, colours, and music still works.

Casino websites are created with a simple design most of the times, to make even inexperienced players feel like they know what they are doing and that everything comes naturally to them. Even if the design may not be too heavy, what really pops are the games and the promotions. With colourful thumbnails, flashing lights, glitter, and animations, your attention is drawn towards games and casino bonuses.

Playing casino on the phone

Promotions are meant to keep you gambling for longer, expanding your casino balance and allowing you to try more games and develop a taste for it. This does not take long, as every game is created with the purpose to make the player want to play more. The lights and animations transport the player into the game’s world and the music that perfectly matches the theme helps with that.

One thing that you may have not noticed but is very obvious is that casino games are designed to make you feel like a winner even when you are losing. The house always has the advantage and while you may only get back fractions of your bets, you will have a good feeling about it thanks to how it is presented to you. What you see on the screen is that you’ve won some money, the symbols sparkle on the reels, and the upbeat sounds start playing. Everything is created in a way that delays the realization that you are losing money.

Also, these contribute to the appeal of the game which makes you come back and play it again or bet over budget and spend more time enjoying it. Every game has its own little universe and when you play it, you are completely immersed in it, making you lose track of time even if the clock is right in front of you.

What to do to avoid losing track of your time and money while gambling

Now that you know about some of the most important ways casino distort reality, you might want to pay more attention and be more mindful the next time you gamble. Here is what you can do when gambling in a land-based casino:

  • Wear a watch. It is easier to check the time than pulling out your smartphone every time;
  • Set an alarm either on your watch or phone and when the time is up, leave the casino;
  • Set a budget and a maximum win limit. Once you either run out of money or hit the winnings goal, consider your gaming session finished;
  • Measure your time with drinks. For example, say you will stay in the casino for the time you need to have two drinks. Once you have those two drinks, it’s time to go.
Avoid losing time while gambling

If you prefer to gamble online, you have even more options that are offered by the casinos themselves. When you log in for a gaming session, keep the following in mind:

  • Use the casino’s features to set a timer and periodical pop-up notifications. These will help you keep track of your time;
  • Check the betting history the casino keeps and see how much money you have spent;
  • Set a budget and never go over it. Also set a win limit so you can leave while you’re ahead;
  • Avoid playing games in full screen mode so you the level of immersion will be lower and you can still see the clock on your computer screen.

By knowing these things and following these simple steps you will be able to keep gambling as a fun activity and not turn it into a problem. Many gamblers overlook these things and eventually have to deal with gambling addiction. Keep in mind that casinos only make a profit when their clients lose money, so it is important for you to always be aware of how much money you are giving them. Also, knowing when to stop is crucial, as it can make the difference between profit and loss.

For this article we have used information obtained from the following sources:

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