How Casinos Can Become Psychologically Dangerous


A casino is a place where champagne glasses clink, locals mingle with tourists and people try their luck at games ranging from poker to roulette. The music is always blaring, and there’s a buzz that you can feel throughout the building. The excitement is hard to miss, but many people don’t consider the psychological tricks and design elements that are designed to make casinos so desirable – even though they’re a business that is built on taking your money.

Most of a casino’s profit is generated by gambling. However, the house edge (the amount of money that the casino expects to win on each game) is not a fixed percentage; it can vary depending on how the game is played, the rules and the type of machine. To make the most of its profits, a casino uses a variety of reinforcers to encourage patrons to continue gambling.

In addition to the obvious visual stimuli (flashy lights, opulent decor, coins clinking in slot machines) and sound stimuli (music and cheering), casinos have a variety of other psychological reinforcements to encourage gamblers to keep playing. For example, the casino rewards gamblers with free drinks and comped rooms and meals. In addition, the casino offers an array of entertainment options like shows and concerts to add to the overall experience.

But, as this article discusses, there are many ways that casinos can become a psychologically dangerous place. And, while casinos do bring economic benefits to the cities they’re located in, studies show that the cost of treating gambling addictions largely offsets any revenue the casinos generate.

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