I’ve been to enough casinos in my day to know they are all basically the same. They offer the same types of games, use the same marketing tactics, design their gaming floors to look like a maze and install the most hideous carpets known to man. They also have some omnipotent power to siphon more money from our pockets than some of us ever intended to spend.
Call it shrewd, fallacious, underhanded or downright duplicitous. But it’s not that a casino cheats its players. They just have a much better understanding of our own psyche than we do.
Take a look at these extremely common tactics – aside from the obvious house advantage – used to separate players from their money.
Perpetual Gambling, By Design
Did you ever notice the carpets in casinos are always so garishly busy? Not necessarily ugly, per say, but blindingly vivid and swamped with punctilious patterns. And why are there no windows in the casino? These are not architectural oversights or design flaws. The casinos know exactly what they’re doing. Without a hint of the sky outside, we are more likely to lose track of time, and who can stand to spend more than a moment looking at those gaudily busy carpets? It’s much easier on the eyes to lift your head and look upon the myriad slots and gaming tables around you.
Where’s the Cashier? Hello?
When you enter the casino, you’ll have no trouble exchanging cash for chips. But turning them back to cash isn’t so easy. The cashier booths are often hidden within the far reaches of the casino floor, and dad-blasted, wouldn’t you know it—there’s only one window open… Tempting gamblers to play on before they find the cashier, or simply to avoid a long line, is just another way the casino cheats players out of more money.
One More Drink – It’s On the House!
Casinos aren’t as open-handed with the booze as they used to be, but if you’re seated and gambling for a bit, those free drinks will start coming (the waitresses are just a lot slower). And every casino owner knows that a tipsy gambler is going to take more risks, and make more trips to the ATM. So have another drink, take another spin on the reels, and keep thinking its you that’s cheating the casino by getting a free round.
Souvenir Chips? Go Right Ahead
Did you ever keep a casino chip as a souvenir? Did you hide it in your pocket, hoping not to get caught, thinking you were somehow cheating the casino out of something? Don’t worry—you’re not. Every time a player takes a chip home, the casino gets to keep the real money behind it. And believe me, the value on the chip is way higher than the chump-change the casino paid for a whole bucket of them.
Hidden Fees Out the A$$
If you’ve ever spent a few days in Las Vegas, you know what I’m talking about. Hotels charge mandatory “resort fees”, supposedly to cover their amenities. Whether you want access to those amenities or not, you must pay the fee each and every night you stay, usually an extra $10 to $15 a night—sometimes more. The whole purpose is to make the room look less expensive when booking. And how about those “Under $10” meals Vegas is famous for? Don’t be surprised when the “CNF” (Concession and Franchise Fee) shows up on your bill, adding 4.7% to all charges – even the tax! It’s just another way the casino cheats us out of money.