How Does the Interior Design of a Casino Help to Lure Gamblers?

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Gambling is one of the most profitable branches of the economy, drawing in tens of millions of dollars and resulting in casinos spending vast sums of money on interior design to manipulate every aspect of customer’s gambling experience.

Casinos can be real fantasy worlds both on the inside and outside, often taking us thematically to far-flung destinations like Venice, ancient Egypt or even outer space.  The architectural designs of casinos play a significant role in gambler psychology and inadvertently assist with luring the gamblers.  

Besides being laid out in line with a specific theme, casinos often undergo regular design changes where they renovate or remodel their current look.  Remodelling an online casino is pretty straightforward since it revolves around digital reengineering of an existing website.  This often doesn’t require vast sums of money and can be done within a limited amount of time.

On the other hand, redesigning a land-based casino is a far more intricate process that adheres to essential principles of design psychology.  Casino psychology is a novel school of thought that influences how designers and architects attempt to optimise colour schemes, layouts, smells, sounds and decorations of casinos with the intent to promote specific consumer behaviour.     

When evaluating casino interior design, two distinct schools of thought have emerged.  The first, known as the Friedman approach, focuses on energy and excitement. In contrast, the second, or Thomas approach, is more concerned with creating an inviting and relaxing environment for all to enjoy.

Friedman Approach to Casino Design

Friedman approach was formulated by Bill Friedman, a former problem gambler who managed to turn his life around and become a successful architect. Friedman’s approach is based on his own experiences with gambling and states that loud noises, bright lights and isolation from the outside world cause people to spend more. 

According to Friedman, bright and warm colours like orange and red tend to increase adrenalin in gamblers.  It is already known that such colours lead to an increase in appetite and excitement, and Friedman linked this to the way these hues, too, can draw people to gamble.   

Friedman also pointed out that a maze-like and confusing layout should be used to force the gamblers to wander around the casino.  As a result, this would increase the chance that the gambler would observe more tables, slots machines, bars and restaurants, and associate with at least one of these where they could then go and spend their money.    

Another critical factor mentioned by Friedman was that the design should be used in such a way that it makes the gambler completely forget and disassociate from the outside world, and only remain focused on gambling.  As a result, most casinos lack any windows, clocks or any other indicator of the time that has passed, which pushes the gamblers to immerse themselves in the gambling experience completely.

Thomas Approach to Casino Design

In contrast to Friedman’s theory, Roger Thomas, who was an architect, believed that a perfect casino environment should embody luxury and relaxation.  He based his view on the assumption that people are prepared to take more significant risks within an environment where they feel more comfortable. 

Colours used in the Thomas approach are cool, dominated by blues and golds, which are believed to soothe gamblers and put them at ease.  The decorations and designs inside the casino should also be as opulent as possible, to make customers feel more comfortable to spend.

Thomas argued that comfort encourages longer stay in a single place, so casinos should have wide-open spaces and ample relaxational and resting facilities.  The idea behind this is for gamblers to leave the casino environment energised, instead of worn out. 

This design also promotes the use of large windows and other external indicators to put the gamblers at ease further.  Thomas argued that a person is more likely to keep gambling if they are aware that they aren’t missing anything and that not being presented with the time only serves to agitate the players.

The Verdict on the Optimal Casino Design

Whichever design a casino opts for, it must apply a coherent theme throughout.  While Friedman focused on décor and gambling equipment, Thomas looked at expression and art.  Either way, a uniformed theme will result in increased revenue, and the aspects of both designs will likely be applied in such a way as to entangle as many gamblers as possible.

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