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09/10/2014 09:40 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How Vegas Casinos Get You Hooked

What are the tricks employed by casinos to attract and retain gamblers?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and get insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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Answer by Charlotte Lang, Lived in Vegas 17 years

  1. No windows in the gambling areas. You cannot track time if you cannot see out, and the lighting is consistent indoors.
  2. Comped rooms/food/drink.The more you gamble, the more "free stuff" you get. Those free drinks you get for playing? If you just bought the drinks, you'd probably be money ahead. Take a look at the size of the free drinks, they are much smaller than the typical serving you'd get if you went to the bar and ordered the drink. To get a free room, you have to gamble A LOT. Again, if you just paid for the room, you'd probably be money ahead.
  3. No clocks in the casino area. Again, if you don't know what time it is, and you're having a good time, you could spend more time there than you think you are.
  4. Not using money to pay out winnings or in the case of table games, to play the game. Those chips and receipts from the slots? Harder to think of them as money. Real easy to toss a chip on the table as opposed to maybe a 50 or 100 bill.
  5. Casinos/resorts are built with enough attractions to keep you there. You can stay there, eat there, get a nightcap there, go to the movies or a show there, go to a club there, lay by the pool, even go to a full size mall in some of the bigger resorts. You can even go down to the little store and pick up toiletries. All without leaving the property, or even going outside.
  6. All night bars and restaurants. There is a reason one can get food and drink any time of the day in Vegas. As long as you aren't hungry or thirsty, you'll keep playing.
  7. The machines have cool sounds, bright graphics, video game looks, etc. It's simple: the more appealing visually and aurally the machine is, the more likely you are going to play, and play a long time.
  8. The machines are easy to play. You don't have to figure anything out, or learn any rules. Put your money in, and that's it. Table games are not a huge part of the casino floor nowadays, they don't make the money slots do because 1) table games require some knowledge of how to play, some strategy, table etiquette, and other rules that some people find intimidating, and 2) table games have a higher minimum to play. It's far easier to put 20 bucks into the machine, and play for maybe 30 minutes, rather than put that same 20 on a table game and watch it go up in smoke in five seconds.
  9. Nice comfortable seats. Go down to any resort, particularly a high end resort, and look at the seating around the tables and slots. The seats are probably more comfortable than most of the chairs in your house. Even mid-priced places have comfortable seating-they don't want anyone to leave because they are sitting on a park bench.
  10. Labeling machines (or the majority of them) either penny, nickel, quarter machines. That gives the image that for a little pocket change, you could win thousands, and that you aren't being irresponsible for putting the rent money on the line. Of course, the reality is much different, people put a LOT of money into the slots. If you have a nickel or a quarter in your pocket, and you pass an appealing machine, odds are very good you'll stop and put it in the machine-and win nothing. While you don't think about it in this way, you just got took-you got nothing for your quarter or nickel, but you were totally cool with it. If someone had taken that coin from you and gave you nothing in return, you'd be mad, but when the casino does it, hey, it's fun, even if the "fun" only lasted long enough for you to lose that coin. And you aren't the only person doing that-multiply that by hundreds of machines, with hundreds to thousands of people doing the same thing, and you're talking some serious money. All by getting a person with one spare quarter or nickel to drop it in there. Vegas is a real racket-that town knows exactly how to vacuum your money right out of your pocket without giving you a thing. Think about that the next time you pass a machine with a spare coin in your pocket.
  11. Prioritizing the local market. Places like Vegas don't solely depend on the tourist market-they want locals to come, and it should be obvious why. Because they live there, they are more likely to go out during low volume periods like weeknights and non summer months, and are more likely to visit the places they like far more often than an out of town customer. Casinos offer locals special deals on entertainment, rooms, etc. Taking a lower price on food or drink or hotel rooms is much better than a room or a seat sitting empty.
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