Over the years gambling has seen extraordinary changes in its image. Indeed, there are experts in this field of business whose interest is to make sure that the casino environment adheres to the principles of design psychology, optimizing the layout, colours, themes, sounds, decorations, etc in other to motivate casino visitors to gamble more. Keep reading to find out how they do it.
Two dominant approaches to casino design are quite opposite. The first one, called the gaming approach, was developed by Bill Friedman, himself a former gambling addict. Friedman advocated the use of bright lights, loud sound and aggressive red and orange colours, with a goal to make visitors excited and increase their adrenaline levels. He also argued that players should be isolated from everything that is not related to gambling, which is why casinos often remove clocks, windows and any other reminder of the outside world, or how much time has passed.
In line with this, the maze layout, or labyrinth, seeks to make it very difficult for customers to find the exit once they have entered the premises. Moreover, without a way to keep track of the time – no clocks and no windows – casinos would become sophisticated webs ensnaring their prey. It gave gambling an Alice in Wonderland kind of feel where you would meander through seemingly endless machines and tables and find something new and interesting as you move along. Mirrors placed everywhere enhance the maze effect.
On the other hand, Roger Thomas, a professional interior designer, reinvented modern casino by putting accent on relaxation and luxury. “I create rooms that I want to be in,” is his motto. His main goal is to make people feel comfortable, thus making them more likely to take risks and spend money.
His playground layout design moves away from a closed space with no light to a large room with a high ceiling, large windows and glamorous décor. Flowers, art and monumental sculptures are used as décor. The key concept is to merge the furnishings with the game that will take place in the designated location. Much like a child’s playground the gambling areas will be organised in small clusters giving gamblers the ability to immediately identify their desired gaming station. Because of the small clusters of gaming opportunities, there is plenty of room for customers to freely manoeuvre around the casino and it also gives some privacy to people that are already on the slot machines or at the tables. The playground concept suggests that the compact areas where customers have almost no elbow room is a bane rather than a boon. If casinos are meant to inspire individuals to become wealthy then they need to be perceived to be wealthy enough to make a gambler’s dream come true. High ceilings with large statues boasting the establishment’s luxury have become the switch from the maze layout to the playground.
This casino design emphasizes calming colours, such as blues and golds, and plenty of natural light. Wide open spaces, large widows, and lot of room for relaxation are the main traits of this approach.
There are also some universal rules of casino design: pleasant scents are used, casino must have a coherent theme and the use of soft, ambient music rather than loud music, because the latter can be distracting.