How Casinos Trick You into Believing You’re Thriving

Dana Nikolic
Thrive Global
Published in
6 min readAug 28, 2017


If there’s one thing thriving in the world of online casinos, its competition. There’s certainly no shortage of online casinos for a gambler to choose from, which means online casinos will use just about every trick in the book to get you to visit their site and stay there. For many, the risk of gambling is what gives them the thrill they love, but it’s still important to play smart and stay aware.

There are several ways both casinos and online casinos tricks you into playing more and therefore spending more, and it’s all about making you feel successful. Check out the following ways casinos and online casinos trick you into thinking you’re thriving on their sites and in their glowing buildings, so you keep playing instead of walking away. And next time, pay a little more attention to what could be drawing you in and keeping you there.

Near Misses

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of coming so close to winning, only to barely lose. Losing by such a small margin can make a player feel like they’re closer to winning than they were before, which they then will typically use as encouragement to keep playing.

Unfortunately, casinos and online casinos are well-aware of that fact, which is why they will use the technique to their advantage. To put it simply, the more you play, the more of a chance there is for the both of you to make money. Those near misses are usually just enough to persuade you to give it one more try.

Bonuses & Promotions

Particularly with online casinos, several bonuses and promotions are offered on a regular basis both to draw in players and keep them playing. There are attractive sign-up bonuses that initially draw you in, and promotions for those who continue to come back and play some more.

Casinos biggest aim is to let new players win, and win big rather than small. Therefore, as a new player, you will often see both free money and free spins being offered as a welcome gift. Fear not however, this is usually an honest greeting, and if you’re mindful you can use it to have fun rather than to get lured in.

Stimulating Lights & Sounds

When you walk into a casino or log into an online casino, there’s a good chance you’re hit with bright colors, flashing lights, and practically hypnotic music. Each of those factors wasn’t chosen by random but yet chosen deliberately to draw you in and keep you playing. You may not realize it, but subconsciously, those lights and sounds are affecting your brain.

No Windows or Clocks

Chances are, you may have not even noticed that the casinos you visited didn’t have clocks on the wall or windows that allow you to peer outside. In fact, the lighting in most casinos stays the same no matter what time of day or night it is. Casinos left out such features on purpose, hoping that it would allow players to “escape” within the walls of their casino. With no clock or window, it’s much harder for a gambler to have an idea of just how long they’ve been going at it, which means they’re much more likely to stay and play on.

Alcoholic Beverages

Ever been to a casino that offers free drinks to those gambling? Unfortunately, the business isn’t just catering to their customers. Instead, it’s a technique many casinos use to lower players’ inhibitions. You’re far less likely to make a wise decision if you’re intoxicated, which means there’s a good chance you’ll keep playing.

Additionally, you may subconsciously think of your free drinks as an excuse to play more. The money you would have spent on those drinks, you can now spend on blackjack, poker, slots, and more.

Confusing Layouts

If you’ve been lucky enough to spend time in a casino, chances are you spent even more time there than you originally planned to. If not because you got caught up in the games, then because you simply got lost within the maze of tables and slots. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. This is yet another trick casinos use to keep players around. They’re purposefully designed confusingly, to force visitors to essentially make their way through a maze just to leave. All along your way out, you’re faced with temptations to stay, and that’s exactly what they want.

Unfortunately, it’s not just the exit that’s strategically placed or even seemingly hidden. Casinos deliberately place the cashiers’ counter, restaurants, and restrooms in harder-to-find areas, again in an effort to keep you gambling. Any break you have away from your game is an opportunity for you to think about stopping and that’s exactly what they don’t want you to do.


As much as we all love free stuff, it comes with a cost. Free or reduced services, often referred to as comps, are one of the main techniques casinos use to gain and keep customers. In its most basic form, a comp is a way to lure players to spend more money. Sure, a free meal, buffet, show, or more seems super exciting, but chances are you still spent money while you were there. Therefore their “freebie” ended up working in their favor, while you feel like you’re the one who really got the deal.

Spotlights on Big Winners

If someone at a casino wins big, the entire floor will know. That’s done deliberately because the casino wants to add to the positive atmosphere and make you feel like you have a better chance of winning. After all, someone near you won, so why can’t you? Not to mention the flashing lights, loud music, and attention-grabbing noises are certainly enough to perk you up, get your attention, and add to the overall fun atmosphere.

Friendly Staff

Speaking of the atmosphere, any visitor to a casino likely noticed how welcoming and friendly the staff seems to be. Sure, you’d think it’s simply the work of those in the service industry, but it’s all a part of a deliberate plan to make you feel welcome and more comfortable. No one wants to stay somewhere for long if they don’t feel comfortable. If you think the waitress might be flirting with you or the service is particularly good despite the casino being so crowded, you’re not just a lucky customer. They want your money, and they’re purposefully working very hard to get it.

Subliminal Messages

This is another technique used by both online casinos and physical ones. They deliberately use words like “win” and “jackpot” as much as they can to promote a lifestyle we all want to be a part of. Who doesn’t want to be a winner? Who doesn’t want to hit the jackpot? The more you see the words, the better chance you have of it becoming a reality, right? Probably not, but it all goes back to the idea of creating a winning atmosphere that we all enjoy and want to be a part of. Just because you see a “high rollers” lounge, doesn’t mean it’s stuffed to the brim with gamblers that only make the big bucks.


Casinos have been around for decades, and while online casinos are newer to the game, they both use the same tricks and techniques to attract and keep players. More than anything, they’re after your money, and they will do whatever they can to be sure they get it, mostly without you even thinking twice about it. After all, it’s a total win-win right? You’re having fun while they’re getting paid. Sure, but just be aware of tricks that you could be falling prey to, causing you to spend even more money than should.



Dana Nikolic
Thrive Global

A professional iGaming writer with over 10 years of experience in the gambling industry