Casino Musical sounds
Much has been said, discussed and hypothesised regarding the use of music and sound effects in a casino. Not everything has always been true, and the casino industry has generated any number of myths regarding their conduct and the things they do to encourage their clients. Given the amount of money lost, and consequently the number of excuses that need to be given, it is always much easier if some of the blame can be averted and the casino blamed as much as possible. This is the basis for much of the myth generation.
The décor, planning and location of a casino are all designed to encourage visitors and players. This is not abnormal nor nefarious, this is simply good sales and marketing. Drinks, and often meals, are served to customers to make the feel more comfortable and welcome. This is quite acceptable, and in an overall sort of way, the casino that makes their players the most comfortable, welcome and content will simply attract more customers, as do hotels, banks and restaurants.
The Best Environment Possible
Similarly, casinos will also be encouraging their customers to spend as much money as possible, and stay in the casino for as long as possible. Quite naturally they will use the best encouragement techniques available, such as the layout of the casino in a maze effect to keep people exploring more. All casinos will also make sure that players need to walk past as much of the casino as possible when cashing out so that temptation is maximised.
When it comes to the audio soundtrack and effects of casino musical sounds, there has been scientific research into the subject and it can be rather illuminating. The Journal of Gambling Studies concluded in 2009 that there were significant effects that casino musical sounds had on players. Specifically, the effect was primarily on the estimates of elapsed time. This effectively means that the soundtrack piped through to players can have an effect on how long they thought they had been there. Players who were worst affected were those that had been listening to only the sound effects of a casino. The expected ambient sounds of a casino, the coins chinking into the tray, the bells and whistles and the general slot machine noises had the effect of making the vast majority of subjects dramatically underestimate the time they had spent there.
Other Musical Effects
Playing music in a casino, even the standard Muzak soundtrack that is traditionally played in lifts, had the effect of improving players’ perception of time. The progression of the songs, and a rough idea of the length of the songs had the effect of giving the brain a time measurement feature and estimates improved.
Fast tempo, noticeable music also had an effect on players and when subjected to an environment like this tended to make players bet faster and slightly higher than they would have. This too has implications in casino design.
The Findings are In
Nevertheless, the final argument tends to swing the decision in favour of the ambient casino sounds, since another aspect of casino play that casinos want to maintain is the players’ optimism and hope that a win is just around the corner. This has been shown to be extremely effectively achieved using as many celebratory sounds as possible. Players who might be losing hand over fist, when hearing triumphant bells and congratulatory whistles of a slot machine that just hit jackpot, will keep feeling that a win is close for them too. This particular illusory effect might at the end of the day contribute more to the cognitive mind-set than previously thought and therefore also contribute to gambling addiction.