Do Casinos Enable The Pathological Gambler?
We often turn the other cheek at the idea of establishments advertising addictive products and disguising them as “fun” (i.e. alcohol, vapes).
Although casinos look like an adult playground, the atmosphere and incentives offered entice one to “stay and play”, have we not considered that is all part of the plan?
Gambling gives you such an adrenaline rush. When you place your bet and win, you feel invigorating…until you lose. now, for most people, walking away and accepting the loss isn’t an arm twisting decision.
However for someone with a gambling addiction, that just is not the case. The importance of walking away a winner can cost gamblers everything.
Making gambling a priority may lead to them sacrificing their jobs, their money, their relationships with friends and family, and in some situations even their lives.
So, is it too far fetched a theory that casinos do in fact, intentionally enable pathological gamblers?
If you or someone you know has struggled or is currently struggling with gambling addiction, here are some enlightening tips about things to look out for to notice when a casino is preying on you.
What makes a casino so appealing to people?
There is this sense of hypnosis a casino can create, quite literally on purpose. The first thing you recognize when entering is the lighting.
Casino’s tend to keep it very bright and well lit to allow you to feel more awake and alive.
Most customers of casinos would agree that these gambling establishments have the gaudiest carpets they have ever seen. Believe it or not, these brightly colored carpets, with psychedelic designs, are no mistake.
They are, in fact, another one of the casino psychology tricks that keep players alert and happy, encouraging them to play more. These wild carpets won’t allow your eyes to sleep; it will shock them back awake.
Most casinos do not have clocks, windows or fluctuation in temperature. This is what is referred to as the “time warp”.
Casinos do not display clocks that are easily readable. That is if they provide any at all. Removing the concept of time completely designs a more narrowed focus to just atmosphere itself.
If you don’t wear a watch to the casino or you forgot your phone at home, good luck finding out the time.
Time has no meaning in a casino. You won’t find a clock.
Think about it, you cant even see the world outside. Since there are no windows, there are no indicators to help you determine if it’s light or dark outside.
Casinos are purposely designed to look the same, regardless of the hour, and the atmosphere is unchanging.
When you’re in the casino, your internal sense of time shuts off. All that exists is a now that stretches on until you leave. Players who don’t know the time aren’t in a hurry to quit playing.
Casino floors are generally very neutral when it comes to temperatures. Which produces a comfortability and a desire to stay.
The entire aesthetic that most casinos project, says “it’s never time to leave”.
Drunk people take more risks than sober people, alcohol affects the brain, slowing it down.
Even a player who doesn’t get drunk can still make poor decisions under the influence of alcohol.
There’s nothing like a paid up bar tab to make you feel like you have enough extra cash to burn.
Second, gamblers who get buzzed or drunk are far more likely to be careless with their money.
Overall, alcohol corrupts the thinking process of a gambler, which is often a detriment to them but a major benefit to the casino.
Free liquor is hands down the dirtiest tactic used by casinos to encourage gamblers to spend.
The feel that you receive the very moment you arrive is how friendly and welcoming the staff are, the free drinks, it appears that you are valued as a guest.
The reality is that everyone within the casino from dealers to the waitresses, have been programmed to make you feel good, important and lose enough to spend.
What entices people to stay?
Labyrinth Floor Plans
It seems that in most casinos, you can’t find the exit. The concept is “I cant get out of here, so why not just sit down and play a hand or two?”.
When you walk into a casino at any hour you will notice that the vibe is consistent.
It is all the same music, lights, smells, sounds, etc. It’s in a sense, the adult Chuck E. Cheese.
Casinos are very smart about giving losers little rewards just for playing.
Unfortunately, the losers are who account for MOST people in a casino. Alright, it’s not too bad, you lost $5,000 but the hotel gave you a complimentary stay.
So it seems as if a person only lost $3,000, they will realize they still lost $3,000.
A gambler will rationalize that he made some of the losses back on the comps, so it wasn’t all that bad.
Convince of Credit Cards
Without inserting actual cash into the machine, every time you make a bet, it’s easy to forget how much you’re spending. Once you cash out from the machine, a ticket is printed with your remaining balance.
Since you’re not holding physical paper money in your hand, it’s easy to feed that ticket into another machine and keep playing.
The only way to cash your winnings is to visit the cashier. Casinos make it easy for you to play, but not easy for you to walk away.
Sense of Control
Some casino games are designed to give players the feeling of “control.”
This illusion of control can fool many gamblers into thinking that they actually will have a higher chance of winning, which can result in them playing for longer and spending more.
Now, let’s establish the reality that many addicts, when referring to gambling are in fact pathological gamblers. Most of those gambler’s, are very discreet and private.
To the extent of their friends and or their loved ones being completely unaware. Or rarely notice any signs or symptoms giving away the addiction.
So how do we identify if someone is a pathological gambler?
First, What IS a Pathological Gambler?
A person with a gambling disorder, which occurs when a person gambles so compulsively that the wagering has tremendous negative effect on his or her job, relationships, mental health, or even other important aspects of life.
Some may continue to gamble even after they have developed social, economic, interpersonal, or legal problems as a result of the gambling.
Denial of Their Addiction Altogether
By the time someone is deep into gambling, their behavior usually becomes consistent and predictable. They will do anything and say anything to get to their primary goal: gambling.
Denial is a coping mechanism that pathological gambler’s uses to attempt to mask his or her problem. They hope to keep the truth from coming out, the gambler tries to buy time – time they use just to keep on gambling.
In conclusion, Casinos have absolutely used and still do use psychology based tricks on people who are gamblers, whether they have only played once or multiple times.
Something as simple as walking through a casino in vegas to get out to the strip can be a luring experience for someone.
In most cases the disorder develops more slowly over a period of years; yet, there are cases of patients who gambled socially for decades and then began to gamble compulsively as a coping mechanism to life stressors, such as divorce or being laid off from work.