Casino – How Casinos Play on Human Psychology


From the bright lights to the sound of pennies dropping in slot machines (yes they still do this even though the coins stopped long ago) casinos have been using methods that play on human psychology for decades. The fact is people like to head to casino’s to let off steam and have fun and if the environment is pleasing they will spend more time there.

Casino, the Martin Scorsese movie of the same name, doesn’t hold back on the brutality that suffuses Sin City life and the lengths to which its denizens will go to protect their turf. In one memorable early sequence, Scorsese’s Steadicam glides past closed doors to peer into the inner workings of the Tangiers Casino where money counting is an art form practiced by a coterie of crooks that include Ace Rothstein (Robert De Niro).

A casino’s primary appeal is its ability to create an atmosphere that feels exciting and thrilling. This includes its flashy decor, upbeat music and the energy of people mingling over drinks while trying their hand at games ranging from poker to roulette. It’s an intoxicating environment that can leave even the most jaded person with a sense of wonder and excitement.

But behind the glamorous glitz, casinos are built on a bedrock of mathematics designed to slowly bleed gamblers of their hard-earned cash. It’s a system that has been in place for years and, as Scientific American points out, mathematicians have tried their hand at turning the tables by applying their knowledge of probability and game theory to exploit weaknesses in the rigged system. But, ultimately, they’ve been unsuccessful. Why? Consumers almost always trust each other more than they do brands and will listen to recommendations from their friends or read reviews on the internet before making a purchasing decision.