Most people who have visited a casino will have been somewhat aware of the tricks of the trade that are used to make them spend as much money as possible.
Casinos famously do not have any clocks in view, so it could be any time of the night, while many of them allow gamblers to access free food and drink to keep them in the building, too. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and makes it more likely that gamblers will keep on risking their cash.
Online casinos have a slightly different challenge, however, as all of the many distractions of the internet can make it harder to hold a person’s attention. So how are operators using sounds and colours to make online casino customers spend more?
Sound design key to keeping players online: It is difficult to represent the often chaotic atmosphere of a bricks and mortar casino online. But operators do as much as they can to replicate the experience through the use of sound design. Games such as online slots are very carefully designed in order to make players feel as though they are gambling at an online casino. Sounds are key to how online casinos achieve this. For example, if you play a slot game you can expect to hear a range of crazy sounds trick your brain into thinking you are winning big. But this is not necessarily the case.
An online slot machine will blast out celebratory noise in the event of a winning spin. However, the same sounds are usually played regardless of the size of the win. Even if a player bets a large amount on a spin of the reels, with the win lower than their stake, the sounds will still play. This encourages people to keep playing through positive reinforcement, though their balance might actually be being depleted overall.
Flashing lights and animations complement the sound of slots: In the same way that noises keep people playing online slots, the same is true for lights. Flashing colours reinforce the idea that a player is winning, even if this is not the case. Losses disguised as wins—or LDWs as they are commonly known in the gambling industry—are one of the main ways that operators try to get customers to spend even more money.
Online slots also have an increasing number of paylines, theoretically giving customers more chance of coming out on top every time they press a button to spin the reels. But while more paylines might mean more wins by number, it does not necessarily mean more wins by cash. Again, online casinos base their slot machines on those found in a bricks and mortar casino. These sites are a riot of noise, flashing lights and activity, which helps to build excitement.
Naturally, it cannot be exactly the same at an online casino, which has to captivate the attention of the player solely through a screen, but the same ideas are used by operators on the internet. Wins flash up quickly to encourage players to spin the reels again as fast as possible.
Lights, sounds and colours help to make a visit to an online casino a visually appealing experience, making it more likely that a customer will want to return again in the future. Often, new slots at online casinos are based on popular movies or TV series and even video games, so the sounds and theme of the game is carefully crafted to remind players of their favourite characters too.
Sounds and colours create a ‘trance’: Various studies have been carried out into how casinos encourage people to spend more. One such piece of research from the University of British Columbia found that the lights and sound effects that are used on slot machines can give players a trance-like feeling.
Head of the study Luke Clark said: “When the experienced slot machine gamblers played, we found they not only felt that they lost track of time and their surroundings. But they often failed to notice the shapes on the periphery of the machine.”
In the study, which was published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviours, the researchers claimed that slot machines could be designed in a different way. They said the way these slots work makes them a more attractive choice for problem gamblers. Online casinos have long faced a tricky balancing act. They need to make money, but also protect people who could be suffering from gambling addiction problems. Making changes to the design of slot machines that are available to be played might be a compromise solution.