How Casinos Are Attracting Problem Gamblers


The casinos know exactly what kind of people they want to attract, and they have developed formulas to determine “predicted lifetime value” of a particular gambler. This allows them to assign value rankings to people based on how much they spend in the casino. Big losers are called “whales” and become the most lucrative repeat customers for the casino. Therefore, they aggressively market to these individuals. But what exactly are these people doing to attract these customers?

Less expensive comps are available to smaller spenders

While it may seem like an unfair advantage to those with a low spending level, casinos do distribute comps differently. The same applies to larger spenders. If you lose, the casino will give you a larger comp, but you must use it before you leave. They call these use it or lose it comps. After all, they don’t want you to sell your bottle. They think you’re cheating the system by not using the entire bottle.

While it may sound like a waste of time to request a free cocktail, casinos track every penny of spending and know whether their players are likely to put their money where their mouth is. Asking a casino representative for a comp can get you a free suite, a free drink, or cash back. If you’re lucky, you’ll even be rewarded with a free suite! Just make sure you know what to ask for when asking, as some casinos have different rules.

Slot machines are appealing to the senses

The design of slot machines appeals to the senses in several ways. In addition to paying attention to the sounds the machine makes, players should also take note of how the slot machine feels. If the machine is designed to be dark with only screen lights, players might feel uninspired. However, bright, colorful cabinets can make the game even more appealing to the senses. These are just a few of the ways slot machines are appealing to the senses in casinos.

Some casinos even go as far as to add scents to their slot machines. Adding sound effects and scents can increase a player’s desire to gamble. Various scientists have examined this phenomenon and discovered that people prefer the odor of scented slot machines. People who like scented machines tend to spend more money than those with odorless ones. Interestingly, scented slot machines have a higher rate of revenue than those without any scent.

Casinos have mathematically determined odds

While there are a variety of mathematically-determined odds for most games, the casino has an edge over its players. This advantage is based on the mathematical formulas used to set the odds of the game. The house edge is reduced to 0% if the casino pays out at least half the money. If the casino pays out 100% of the money, then it has an edge of about 2%. But in reality, the house edge is much lower than that.

They target compulsive gamblers

Many casinos are intentionally targeting problem gamblers. They advertise in magazines, send out free limos, and hire hosts to befriend them. According to the Atlantic magazine, casinos spend nearly $4 billion a year to lure problem gamblers to their casinos. While they make up less than 20 percent of their patrons, they provide the majority of their profits. In addition to free limos, free hotel suites, and free alcohol, casinos also provide easy credit and ingratiate themselves to problem gamblers.

In some cases, casinos have settled duty-of-care lawsuits. For example, a man with Parkinson’s disease, Joe Treyes, who lost $100,000 playing slot machines, won a lawsuit against the Ontario gambling authority. Ultimately, the court ruled that the self-exclusion agreement constituted a contract and therefore casino operators were not liable for the losses. Casinos know their compulsive gamblers, but they must respect their wishes.