How casinos design halls to keep you playing longer guide, Friedman gaming resort architecture, Gambling layout

How Casinos Design their Halls to Keep You Playing Longer

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How casinos design halls to keep you playing - Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

A casino is a bright, exciting place that promises great riches if you play your cards right. Casino designs have incorporated all that psychologists have found about the human psyche to keep us within its confines as much as possible, playing for longer. Casinos are well known for having free drinks and many offers to entice us through their doors, but there is much more than this that keeps us where they want us.

4 Dec 2020

Casino design

People visit a casino to have fun, and a good environment makes the whole experience becomes much more enjoyable. Casinos have invested millions to design their halls so you gamble more, with designs changing from those of Bill Friedman to those that followed later by Roger Thomas. The super casinos that you see in Las Vegas today would not have been in anyone’s imagination in the earlier days of the industry.

Currently, online casino design follows the Friedman approach, discussed below, in which the games alone entice players to sign up. Online casinos are becoming increasingly popular, with competition over the best online casino slots and generous bonus and reward systems vying to attract new players. Whether online casinos can ever take over the fun found in land-based casinos over the long-term has yet to be ascertained.

Friedman’s principles of casino design

Friedman was at the forefront on casino design and his published research “Designing Casinos to Dominate the Competition”, was published by the University of Nevada Reno in the late 1990s. The book is essentially an analysis of the design of casinos to include the location of tables, entrances, amenities, colours in the casino, amount of light, and ceiling height and how these affect gamblers in their decision to stay in a casino.

No clocks or windows

Casinos have no clocks or windows so that customers lose track of time and can get lost in play without worrying that you have been at the casino for too long or need to be somewhere else.

Labyrinthine Design

Friedman’s casino designs deliberately disorientate punters. The line of vision is reduced by long, winding paths that pass some alluring gaming opportunities that aim to trap you as a player.

Intimate Settings

To get as many casino visitors to play as possible, Friedman designed smaller break-off rooms with a more intimate vibe than the tables in the main casino and means people are less likely to move to another casino. Ceilings are low to add a sense of comfort, relaxation and intimacy which Friedman suggests encourages players to spend more money, though a later casino designer named Roger Thomas disputes this.

With many small well-organised rooms keeping players curious and narrow walkways giving a sense of home, players are less likely to feel overwhelmed and willing to stay longer.

Gamble as soon as you arrive

In a casino, the gaming machines are the décor.  When players arrive the machines are the main feature and focus, with any extra décor simply emphasizing the gaming facilities. Friedman believed the vast elegant lobbies should be left to the big hotels and that no space should be wasted, and that players should be able to gamble as soon as they enter.

Casino design of Roger Thomas

Freidman’s approach has been usurped in newer casinos by the more modern design principles of Roger Thomas which focus on how players feel.  Thomas believed that tiny rooms were suffocating and made people feel tired. In business terms, he believed this stopped players from making high-risk bets and meant that they left the casinos early.

The casino designs of Roger Thomas invite players into a more relaxed environment. There are bright open spaces, high ceilings, flowing fabrics, European-style furnishings and skylights, all of which keep people relaxed, comfortable and in the building for longer. With clear lines of vision and easy-to-navigate spaces, players are more inclined to stay and place riskier bets.

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