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9 Ways Gambling Institutions Play with Your Mind and Take Your Money

Gambling Institutions are not your friends, whether it is the Las Vegas casino or the state lottery. They do not exist for your good, they exist for your money. To survive, or in the case of the government, to meet budget, they need your money. 

So, these institutions have become very good at making you throw away more money than you planned and having you return more times than you ever anticipated. They understand human behavior at a deep level and use it to their advantage and your disadvantage. 

As soon as you walk into a casino or purchase that scratch off, you’ve walked into their carefully crafted trap. Here’s just a few ways gambling institutions play with your mind and take your money:

1. No clocks. If you find yourself in a casino, look around. There are a few things missing. One of those things is a clock. They are nowhere to be found. The reason—they want you hyper-focused on gambling and don’t want you to recognize the amount of time you’ve spent in the casino. They don’t want you to have this thought—“Oh, it’s 8:00pm. I better head out.” to interrupt your gambling. Because the longer you stay and the more focused you are on gambling, the more money you throw away.  

2. No windows. Windows are also missing in casinos for the same reason as clocks. Daylight, or the lack of daylight, creates reference points that can break a person’s focus and cause them to recognize the amount of time spent gambling. 

3. No straight aisles. A casino’s floor is like a maze. There are very few straight aisles. As you probably suspect by now, this is very intentional. They are playing to your impulses, and the maze-like layout ensures that you will run into tempting slot machines or other gambling opportunities. 

4. Bathrooms in the back. You won’t find restrooms at the front of very many casinos. Why? Because they want you to enter into their maze. 

5. Regular near-misses. Research has demonstrated that near-misses, where you get close to winning, increase a person’s likelihood of gambling again. So, casinos and state lotteries increase the number of near-misses, hoping that individuals will pull the slot machine's lever another time or buy one more scratch off.

6. Ugly carpets, lights, and sounds. You can’t gamble if you are asleep. So, casinos do everything possible to keep you awake with flashing lights and a constant barrage of sounds. Even the carpet is in on the act. It’s intentionally ugly and not calming at all.  

7. Free alcohol. No, it’s not that they like you that much. For casinos, the cost of alcohol is an investment with a solid ROI (return on investment). You can imagine why. 

8. Chips and prepaid cards. Have you ever wondered by casinos use chips? One of the reasons is that there is a mental separation between money and chips. Even though chips represent cash, chips are mentally easier to risk than cash. It just doesn’t feel the same. For this reason, casino are also staring to implement prepaid cards for slot machines. It creates another mental separation from the gambler and their money.

9. Seemingly harmless conversations. Having a good chat with a casino employee? It may not be as harmless as it seems. Casinos often use these conversations to help determine how much money you have to spend, or lose. Just like Amazon or Target, casinos try to acquire as much data about you as possible in order to maximize the “relationship.” And sometimes, they get this data directly from your mouth.

Now, you can see why gambling institutions are not your friends. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes than most will ever realize. 


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