A casino is a place of flashing lights, clinking slot machines and intoxicating energy. It’s where blackjack tables whirl around, dice roll and players cheer. It’s also a place where people who make reasoned financial decisions on a day to day basis, lose thousands of dollars at the drop of a dime. How do casinos trick otherwise rational people into throwing their money away based on the luck of a dice roll or a spin of a wheel?
One way is through the use of promotions that seem too good to be true. The fine print with all the qualifiers and catches can quickly breach trust and have an adverse impact on gambling behavior. Another way is when a machine malfunctions and players are forced to wait for service. Players tell us through research that they feel a lack of trust when their money isn’t returned to them as expected, especially when it involves long wait times.
In the past, casinos were not allowed to promote themselves with “winning” messaging in their advertising. However, this changed in 1999 and now casinos are able to promote their gaming products with claims that are supported by data. This type of puffery is illegal in many jurisdictions and can lead to a lawsuit if misled.
Gambling is done with real money but casinos help to dissociate this by changing cash into colorful little discs that look just like money. In addition, many casinos let you load funds on a card that can be used for digital games. These methods make it easier to spend more than you have and can be addictive.