Analysis of Casino Design

William Choi and Antoine Sindhu’s archaeological history of the slot machine includes a fascinating analysis of casino design, focusing on practices they characterize as manipulative and deceitful. Some techniques are well known, including the noticeable lack of natural light and clocks. A few are more surprising:

Other features of the casino, including the music, carpeting, and even the air conditioning system, are manipulated to the casino’s advantage. Studies have shown that carpeting is often purposefully jarring to the eyes, which draws customers’ gaze upwards toward the machines on the gambling floor. Music is usually mild and soothing, and plays on a continuous loop rather than individual songs, contributing to a trance-like feeling of warmth and comfort in the gamblers. It has even been reported that casinos have attempted to manipulate the air circulation in order to affect the behavior of gamblers….

Casinos are an archetypal example of experience design and Choi and Sindhu’s exploration reflects a theme of “control” that seems to be baked into the discipline.

Update: Johndan Johnson-Eilola takes this theme and runs with it over at work/space.




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