From getting your personal information to monitoring your every move, here are 10 tricks casinos don’t want you to know!
10. Free Stuff Places like Las Vegas are all about the money.
If you have limited funds but still want to gamble, a wise move is to focus on comps. ‘Comp’ stands for ‘complementary’ and it’s the casino’s way of keeping you happy, even if you’re losing. A good tip is to bet high as your opening move. Spending a few extra dollars at the start puts you in the good graces of the casino and the comps should start flowing. For example $20 per hand for blackjack gives the right impression. Don’t do anything you can’t afford though!
Also if those comps aren’t happening, ask! A little initiative on your part can go a long way. Even if you are only hanging out in a casino for the weekend, you can get all kinds of free perks!
Getting a player’s card is the right way to go. This is similar to a customer loyalty card and they are free. All you have to do is show your ID to register for one and then the casino will send you offers for free stuff using your info, usually in the form of coupons.
Your info can also be used to snoop on what you get up to but we’ll go into that a bit later!
9. Money Maze You might ask yourself how you lost all that money after a visit to the casino.
Clearly Lady Luck wasn’t on your side. But it will surprise you to learn there is another major factor involved. One that operates on a subliminal level to keep you in the building and make it difficult for you to leave. This is the maze-like design of a casino, something the owners really don’t want you to know about! The psychology of casino design is talked about by writer Bill Friedman in his book ‘Stripping Las Vegas’.
Friedman mentions that the best kind of casino layout is like a labyrinth. A labyrinth made up of slot machines and other distractions. The gambler tries to find their way through this elaborate maze to get out, but a combination of short pathways and hard-to-reach exits mean it’s more likely they’ll stop to spend some more money. Some casinos are designed like intimate spaces rather than gaming zones the size of aircraft hangars. This creates a sense of comfort along with the confusion.
Add to this perks like free drinks and it’s no wonder you decided to try your luck on the Megabucks machine. You couldn’t even find your way to the exit, plus its hot as hell outside at least in Vegas, so why not stay and chill for just a little while longer…5 more bucks won’t hurt….right??
8. NORA Software NORA stands for Non Obvious Relationship Awareness. It was devised by Systems Research & Development, a data mining company in Las Vegas. NORA is keeping a close eye on you from the moment you walk in the casino.
It’s no surprise you’re going to be watched in a place with lots of money but NORA goes much further. The software gathers a wealth of personal information about players via tools such as loyalty cards. See…that’s how the getcha!!! It then uses that info to weed out cheaters. However it can also be used to judge how valuable you are to the casino based on your activity.
Big Brother is watching you!! NORA works hand in hand with CCTV cameras and a team of experts hired by the casino. These include security pros, cryptographers and game theorists.
The technology they use is like something out of a Bond movie! Playing chips are fitted with radio frequency transmitters that let experts know if the player is being sneaky with their game. At the same time masses of information is being gathered about you. In fact you hand over much of it willingly – for example when you’re trying to get those all important comps. Some have expressed concern that this gives casinos too much power and that the information can be misused.
Others see NORA software as positive for society. The security tech used by Homeland Security to fight terrorism started out in the casinos. Either way casinos aren’t that happy that you know about their snooping! But even so, we probably don’t even know the half of it.
7. Free Drinks There’s one surefire way to get free drinks in Vegas… if you’re spending lots of money! We’re assuming you don’t always want to do that so here are some pointers on how to drink for free without breaking your budget. You can score some refreshment by hanging around the tables watching other games. But if you really want to keep the liquor coming you have to put a bit more thought into it.
The secret is tipping. Bartenders and waitresses are always looking for something extra. Don’t let that idea scare you off though.
You don’t have to pay them a small fortune. Start with a generous tip of, say, $5. Then you can offer smaller tips as you go. You can even drink for free at penny machines, they aren’t judging. Just be nice to the servers!! Be careful how you go about doing this.
Casinos are getting wise to losing money through comps and there’s talk of free drinks being ruled out to save extra dollars. We’d advise you to take the opportunity before it disappears!
6. Chips Not Cash Using chips in a casino is something you take for granted. It’s easy to think this is all part of the fun. That it makes life simpler, avoiding the pitfalls of keeping track of your cash or getting fake bills. A lot of us take it at face value and don’t think about it. However you should think about it because this is another way casinos trick you into spending your hard-earned cash.
For starters there’s the idea you’ll be more daring with chips than cash. $1000 looks pretty intimidating as a wad of bills. It’s a different prospect when its wrapped up in an itty bitty chip. Also remember what I was saying earlier about chips being fitted with transmitters? This is known as RFID, or Radio Frequency ID.
These transmitters can be easily traced by the management, making it a cinch to move in on criminals after fast money. Chips function as both a mental distraction and a vital tool in the fight against crime. Casinos don’t mind you knowing about that last part of course.
The first part of the trick is one they’re not so happy about broadcasting!
5. Clocking Off This next trick is pretty simple. Casino owners want you to spend as long as possible inside their establishments. The more time you spend, the more money you’ll spend. There is a direct correlation!
In fact it would suit casinos if you lost all sense of time altogether. If only there was a way they could do that. Well guess what? There is. They can’t stop time.
But they don’t have to have clocks on the walls either. Or windows, or any way really to know what time it is. But I’ll get to windows in a bit. A gambler could really lose track of what they were doing without a reminder of how long they’ve been wandering the aisles in search of a jackpot. A good way round this is to wear a watch but there is a more obvious solution to the problem…check the time on your phone!
4. Window to the World Casino owners hate windows. It’s as simple as that. When you look out a window you’re not looking at a blackjack table or a fruit machine. You realize it’s gotten dark since you went in to place a few bets. And that’s not what the casinos want. They create a sealed world where all that matters is their brightly-coloured environment.
This is also true if you like to gamble online. Make sure you’re near some glass so you’re aware of time passing around you. You can lose a ton of money sitting at your keyboard as much as you can working the floor of the Flamingo! Don’t give the casino owners the advantage – you’re there to play, not get tricked!
3. Big Brother You’re being watched! Player’s cards and CCTV are used extensively to track your movements as you gamble. The cards provide authorities with your personal information and the cameras study your face and more importantly your hands. Take these epic levels of snooping into account and you wouldn’t be out of line calling a casino owner ‘Big Brother’, after the all-seeing eye in George Orwell’s novel ‘1984’.
The thing you should understand about gambling in a casino is you’re not anonymous. They know who you are. The marketing department can then send you whatever they like in the hope of tempting you back for another spin. And while you’re under their roof, the management can keep tabs on you in an extraordinary level of detail. This extreme surveillance culture is intended to crack down on bad behaviour in the casino.
They are checking for cheaters, card counters, and in recent cases, robberies. There are arguments for and against this high level of spying, but you know its there!
2. Sights, Sounds & Smells A sneaky trick casinos play on you involves bombarding your senses with sights, sounds and smells. The flashing lights hold your attention and stop you thinking about stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with having fun and gambling. Music is piped in to ramp up your excitement levels.
Strangest of all, smell plays a big part in the experience. Certain scents are pumped into the casino. Smells that conjure up exotic places have proved popular in the past. On the plus side, the fake aroma helps to offset the stink of booze and cigarettes.
And they usually have an excellent air filtration system so you feel fresh and awake. However you are being manipulated through your nostrils to stay and play. Watch your back. Can’t say I didn’t warn you!
1. Hidden Fees You’re losing enough of your cash while gambling. So it may shock you to learn that casinos add fees on top of everything. Fees which are hidden and are less than reasonable. This is the dirtiest trick in the book when it comes to your casino experience. The resort fee is famously unfair.
This fee is everywhere in Las Vegas. It isn’t made clear at the start of your stay but daily charges are applied to your account. These are described as for “amenities”.
Even if you book online, when you check in there will be at least a $35 resort fee. Seeing as you’re paying to use many of the services the casino offers anyway, that’s some nerve they’ve got there! Say you want to get away from the tables for a bit and go grab a bite to eat on the Strip.
You could also fall prey to a Concession & Franchise Fee, or CNF. This puts an extra 4.7% on your bill for the weirdest of reasons. ‘Prime real estate locations’ is one of the reasons offered.
Have you been tricked by a casino? Let us know in the comments below. Be sure to subscribe before you leave and see you soon!