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While casinos love to create a fun, welcome atmosphere where everyone wins, there are tactics that casinos use which enable gamblers in their addiction. 

In fact, casinos design their building layouts and game rooms to keep you there as long as possible, so that they can make more money off of your losses. 

Here are a few ways that casinos enable your gambling habits. 

5 Ways Casinos Keep You Gambling

 

1. Lights & Sound 

The lights in casinos are often bright, colorful, and flashing, because casinos want you to feel like you are at a party the whole time you’re there, even if you are losing terribly. These lights and sounds also serve as a trigger to gamblers and reminds them of the excitement of gambling. 

2. No Clocks or Windows

Casinos want you to lose track of the time so that 2 p.m. and 2 a.m. look the exact same. They essentially want you to be so engrossed in playing games that you forget that the outside world exists.

3. Chips Instead of Real Money 

Although you are betting real money, it doesn’t always feel that way, since you are usually playing with chips rather than dollar bills. This can cause the gambler to think that they aren’t really spending as much as they are. 

4. Free Drinks 

Offering you free drinks may initially seem like a kind gesture that makes your experience more fun. In reality, alcohol lowers inhibitions, making the gambler more confident and impulsive, which leads to the gambler taking larger risks, meaning that the more you drink, the more money you will spend. 

5. Complimentary Meals and Stays 

If you spend enough money at a casino, they may reward you with a free meal or even a free stay at their hotel. You may have lost hundreds of dollars, and they reimburse you only a fraction of what you lost. Keeping you at the location also encourages you to come back and gamble again the next day. 

blackjack dealer dealing cards


What About Online Casinos?

Online casinos also have their ways of enabling your gambling habits. The accessibility of online gambling has made it that much more difficult for gamblers to set boundaries such as time limits and spending limits. 

Free Play

Many online casino sites will allow you to play for free for a certain amount of time. These games are designed to let you win as long as you are playing for free. The goal is that once the player has had some success with the free version, they will feel confident enough to start gambling real money. The problem with this is that the moment real money becomes involved, online casinos change the odds to work in the favor of the house. 

Poker Bots

Gamblers may think that they are playing games like Poker against a real person, when in reality it is a bot created by the casino who is designed to beat its opponent. 

Near Misses 

When the game tells you that you almost won, it makes the gambler think that they are capable of actually winning if they just try one more time. 

How to Gamble Responsibly 

  • Tell someone when you are going to the casino
  • Set a spending limit and stick to it 
  • Quit while you’re ahead
  • Don’t gamble while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Set a time limit (take a watch or your phone with you)

Do You Have a Problem?

Here are a few questions to help you determine whether or not your gambling habits are becoming problematic:

  • Do you gamble in isolation? 
  • Are you defensive when confronted about your gambling? 
  • Do you gamble to escape problems or unpleasant emotions?
  • Do you hide your gambling from friends and family?
  • Have you gone to extreme lengths to get more money to gamble with or pay off debts?
  • Do you get withdrawal symptoms when you aren’t gambling?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a gambling problem. Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is necessary. Just like you would treat a substance use disorder, you need to treat your gambling disorder with the same urgency.  Remember that gambling is a game of chance, and the odds are never in your favor. 

While there are several treatment options available, the most successful treatment option in the long-term is attending a residential treatment center. At Algamus, we offer our residents a 3-4 week stay where we include various forms of treatment, and even facilitate an individualized after-care program. If you’re ready to take the next step and consider attending treatment, speak to one of our certified gambling counselors today to learn more about how Algamus can help. 

Topics: Gambling Addiction, Treatment, Recovery

Rick Benson

Written by Rick Benson

Rick founded Algamus Recovery Centers in 1992. A Cornell University graduate, Rick is an Internationally Certified Gambling Counselor (ICGC-II) and a Canadian Problem Gambling Counselor (CPGC). Algamus and Rick were featured on the very first episode of Intervention on the A&E channel.