Just One More Pull: How Casinos Keep You in Your Seat

The design of casinos is remarkable for making the gamblers lose track of time and money. Consider the fact that casinos offer no clocks and often no way to tell whether it’s day or night outside. They are quick with a drink at your elbow and convenient buffets so that you never have to leave the premises. Gamblers can while away hours and dollars without realizing it.

But what particular methods do casino designers employ for slot players that keep them in their seats? One is the multi-line bonus games that allow players to bet on multiple winning combinations. Some machines offer the chance for a bigger jackpot if players continue to plug in coins. American designers have discovered that players were willing to spend far more money when playing lower denominations than when playing quarters, so often these multi-line slot machines are nickel machines.

Progressive slot machines are another ploy for keeping slot players in their seats. Slot players like the idea of watching a jackpot build over time because it increases their sense that it is just about to be won. Practical players realize, however, that hitting a progressive slot jackpot is as likely as winning a Powerball Lottery.

High rollers are often lured by the VIP points they can accrue by playing high-limit slots. A high roller who plays the $5, $10, or $25 slot machines can accumulate points quickly, which he can then parlay into meals, rooms, and other comps. Such loyalty programs have been extremely successful for many casinos. Harrah’s, for example, has seen a thousand new players join their reward program since it began in the summer of 2004.

One recent idea to keep slot players in their seats is to allow slot machines to accept debit or credit cards. No need to get up and find an ATM because the slot machine will deduct an amount directly from your checking account or add it to your credit card bill. So far, gaming commissions all over the nation have rejected the idea because they see it as far too tempting for addicted gamblers.