Entering a casino, is like entering a land where time doesn’t exist. If you think about it, when in a casino, you’ve probably never noticed a clock hanging on the wall or a clear window leading to the outside world. So why don’t casinos have clocks or windows?
Casinos don’t have clocks or windows because they want to keep players focused on playing games. Casinos make more money the longer you play and clocks distract players by giving them a reference for how long they have been playing. Casinos don’t have windows for the same reason. Windows show the passage of time.
Casinos go to great lengths to distract you from reality. In Las Vegas, as well as casinos in general, it’s the gaming house’s job to give you tunnel vision and keep you playing.
Read on to find out more about why casinos don’t have clocks or windows as well as the other psychological tricks casinos use on players.
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Table of Contents
Why Don’t Casinos Have Clocks?
When you enter most normal places of business, it’s common to be able to look around and spot a clock on the wall. This is a service that many businesses supply for their customers as an added convenience.
When it comes to casinos, however, a clock hanging on the wall is an unwanted distraction. At least as far as the casino is concerned. A clock is a reference to the passage of time and people are hardwired to react to the passing of time.
Casinos can keep your attention focused longer when time stands still.
If you knew just how long you’d been sitting at that gaming table or machine it would provide you with the incentive to propel yourself into action and leave the property.
Now you might be thinking that it’s not that difficult to find out what time it is. We all wear watches or have phones handy. We don’t need clocks anyway. And that’s absolutely true but there’s a certain convenience factor in being able to glance around, notice a clock on the wall and see what time it is.
Also, from my personal experience as a Las Vegas local, I’ve stood in a lot of buffet lines next to the casino floor and you know what I don’t see much? I don’t see a lot of people sitting at slot machines and gaming tables with their phones in their hands.
Anywhere you go these days you see multitudes of people constantly on their phones but this isn’t so true on a casino floor.
It’s not that the lack of clocks inside casinos is a major reason people gamble longer, however, it’s just one small psychological trick in a casinos bag of tricks that can add up to a big win for the casino.
Why Don’t Casinos Have Windows?
For much the same reasons as clocks, casinos don’t typically have windows either. If you sit down at a machine in the evening and you suddenly notice that it’s getting light outside, it may shock you into leaving and getting some sleep.
Casinos would say that they don’t have windows because natural light shinning onto the gaming floor would cause glare off the cards and machines. While this actually makes sense, I very much doubt it is the only reason.
Not having windows is another way that casinos can keep players focused on their game. No distractions from the outside world and no references to the passage of time keep players playing.
I should mention that I have actually seen some windows in the gaming areas of Las Vegas casinos. These windows, however, are always opaque so you can’t see out and they are always tinted so the light coming through gives the impression of perpetual dusk.
While not having clocks and windows in casinos may have a marginal effect on the length of time players keep spending money, they are not the only tricks casinos use to separate you from your money.
Psychological Tricks Casinos Use To Keep You Spending
The lack of clocks and windows are only two of the many psychological tactics in a casinos big bag of tricks. Let’s take a look at some of the other ways a casino will get you to stay spending in their property longer.
Originally casinos were just that, a casino floor with table games and machines. Nowadays, the biggest casinos provide guests with an entire resort experience including shopping, fine dining, pools, spas, etc.
Casinos have found that the better people feel, the longer they will stay, and the more money they will spend. There’s nowhere that is a better example of this than Las Vegas. Everything about a Las Vegas casino/resort is designed to make you feel happy!
Maze Like Design
Casinos are designed much like a maze. This is especially true once you’re on the gaming floor. Everything is laid out so that you get lost in the never-ending rows of machines. You can’t walk more than a few feet without running into another machine.
It’s the same way that stores create their merchandising layouts. Ever been to an IKEA or a Best Buy? You have to work your way, twisting and turning through the rows of merchandise (or slot machines in this case) in order to get anywhere. They’re hoping something will catch your eye and attention before you can find your way out.
Flashing Lights and Sounds
Humans have been hardwired since the beginning of time to respond to movement and sounds. It’s how we’ve survived. The flashing lights, sounds, and music of a casino are made to draw you in and capture your total attention.
In addition, all the lights and ringing bells give you the impression that everyone playing, yourself included, is winning. Which we all logically know is not the case.
Do you think that casinos in Las Vegas give free drinks to players out of the goodness of their hearts? Heck no! Alcoholic drinks not only lessen your cares and inhibitions, but they also make you feel that even if you’re losing it’s being offset somewhat because you’re still getting something for free.
Breaking Even = Winning!
If you’ve spent any time gambling on a machine in Vegas or elsewhere, you’ve probably noticed that the machine tells you you’re winning a lot. So how come your dollar balance keeps going down?
Casino slot and poker machines are designed to tell you (with noises and flashing lights) that you’ve won when all you’ve really done is not lost. If you put a dollar in a machine, press the button, and break-even, the machine makes you feel like you’re winning when all got was your dollar back.
In this way, you slowly lose your money while you’re brain is being told that you’re a winner.
Everything You Need is Right There
If you ever stop playing because you’re hungry, need a restroom break or want to shop for something you forgot to bring with you, everything you need is right there in the casino property.
It makes sense. If you don’t have to leave the casino to fulfill your basic needs, then you’ll stay much longer. Also, once you’ve gone shopping or to the buffet, there is no way out of the casino without walking back through all of the machines on the casino floor again. Cha-Ching!
Freebies! Are you familiar with the player loyalty cards at most big casinos? You put the card into the slot or video poker machine you’re playing and it keeps track of how much you are gambling.
The more you gamble the more “comps” (discounts and free stuff) the casino gives you. Free meals, shows, and other prizes are given out, even to the low rollers if they press the “spin” button enough. This keeps you coming back and makes you feel a bit like you’re winning, even if you’re not.
High Roller Comps
For the “high rollers” (aka high dollar gamblers) the casino comps get even bigger. The high rollers are given serious VIP treatment and are offered things like free and upgraded rooms, spa services, and other special incentives.
The casinos know that the longer they can get a high-value player to stay or get them to come back more often, the more money the casino will make. The free rooms, etc. are just loss leaders. The casinos can make all that money back with a single roll of the dice.
Casinos always make promotions out of the big winners. Throughout Vegas, you see billboards everywhere showing normal everyday people just like you and me who have won BIG money playing at such and such casino.
By showing you that regular people can win, these casinos attempt to lure you into their establishment to give your luck a try! So even when a casino loses a big sum of money they still make a profit by using the loss as an effective marketing tool. Pretty smart, eh?
The absence of clocks and windows in casinos is a deliberate attempt to limit the senses that would otherwise cause you to leave sooner. The multitude of other tricks work in different ways to accomplish the same objective. To get you to stay longer!
While there may be some actual big winners each day, the longer a casino can get its guests to stay on average, the more money they make.
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