Over the past twenty or so years, great wealth and improved economic and social conditions have been promised to the communities that have embraced legalized gambling. However, with twenty years of experience it is time to look back and analyze whether this is true or not.
It could easily be said that gambling is as American as apple pie. Gambling has shaped American history since its beginning. Lotteries were used by The First Continental Congress to help finance the Revolutionary war. Many of our founding fathers, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, have sponsored private lotteries. It has been said that "Our founding fathers were just numbers guys in wigs" At one time baseball would have seemed to be the American pastime. This is not so now. In recent years, the attendance at casinos has nearly doubled the attendance at all major league baseball games, with close to 130 million people visiting casinos every year.1
With so much money at stake, the average gambler does not stand a chance against this big business. The casinos go to every length to analyze what makes a gambler bet, stay longer, and loose as much money as possible.
Gamblers who come to casinos with the intention of winning money are habitually disappointed. As casino crime lord, Meyer Lansky's universal gambling truth states; "Gamblers never win, the house never loses"2 Slot Machines and most table games allow players to make bets where the probability of winning is relatively high. Frequent wins are characterized by low payouts. These frequent wins encourage further gambles with low payouts.
Frequent winning, low paying games are not the only way casinos get people to keep playing. Nothing less that psychological warfare is going on at casinos across the country. "The days of shaved dice, missing face cards and rigged roulette wheels are long gone. But the pursuit of profitability in the corporate era of gambling has turned the average casino into a financially hazardous place for betters"3 The casino's beliefs are all based on the fact that since the house has an advantage over the player, the longer the house can keep the player playing, the more money the house will make. The gambling industry spends millions each year to whether wider isles, fresher air, and back rests on the chairs at slot machines make a player stay longer.4 And why would the casino care if somebody is comfortable? Because if each better stays for just a few more minutes, it could mean millions for the casinos.
Casinos have false ceilings with rooms above them where some people watch for cheats and swindlers. From these same vantage points, are other people with alternate jobs. They are hired to observe and study what situations encourage gamblers to play longer. And as stated before, the longer people play, the more money casinos receive.
These tricks of the trade are not just directed at the comfort level of the players, but also at their subconscious. Adding a certain scent into the air can make slot players spend up to fifty percent more than average at times. When money is turned into chips, in the player's mind, it decreases it's value. When a gambler asks a dealer for change for a hundred dollar bill, the dealer is under orders to give the player the lowest denomination possible, in five dollar chips. The player would easily spend the twenty chips as pocket change. But a twenty-five dollar chip is much more likely to be saved or even cashed in.
Colors are a very important part of the subconcience mind. Betters are easily drawn to bright red machines, but tire of them quickly. Many casinos now put bright red machines on the outside of isles. Inside the isles are the more calm cool blue and greens that seem to encourage the player to stay longer.
Gamblers are at the mercy of the big business casinos. Most people do not fully realize how much they...