When most people walk into a casino, they know it is much more likely that they will lose money instead of win money. People even try to set a limit on themselves and how much they can play so they won't lose too much money. It's pretty much common knowledge that casinos are designed to make you lose most of the time so they can continue to make a profit.
But despite this common knowledge, people still choose to go to casinos and lose thousands playing slots in the very slight chance they hit the jackpot. But why? Why continue to gamble when you know what the outcome is going to be? As it turns out, appealing to the mind is what keeps people coming back.
When you look at slot machines, like Megaways slots
for example, what do you see? A bunch of bright lights and a variety of colors. Doesn't matter what the theme of the design is, they all feature bright lights and lots of colors. Something about this continues to pull us back in for 'one last spin' even though we keep losing. It's so good at grabbing our attention that you may not even notice what's happening. You just go on auto-pilot and continue playing.
Inside our brain, we have this chemical called dopamine, This acts as our reward system.
For example, say you want to lose weight. You start to exercise more often, drink more water, and eat healthier. It doesn't take long for you to begin to hate this. But once you try on some pants and see that they feel lighter, you get excited. You feel more motivated to keep on going with the diet so you can see more results. That is the dopamine coming into play. The release of dopamine makes you feel good and makes you want to continue being healthy but also achieve that good feeling again. This is how we become persuaded to make the right choice rather than continue making the wrong one.
"What does this have to do with slot machines?", you ask.
This is relevant because we receive dopamine from many things. Again, what do you picture when you think of slot machines? Bright lights and multiple colors. All of those bright lights and colors are appealing to our senses and release dopamine in our brain. This gives us that good feeling and keeps us wanting more. This is why even though you just lost some money, you feel good. But after time you get used to that feeling so you need more dopamine to achieve the same result. So you keep trying again, and again, and again. Next thing you know three hours have passed and you are all out of money.
But it's not just flashing lights and colors that get you hooked. The casino wants you to relate to the machine. When you relate to something you become more drawn to it. It's something that fits you.
Obviously, it's hard to know what people like. In order to make it a non-issue, casinos use a number of different designs so there is something for everyone. That's why you see so many different symbols and themes on these machines. Someone may be a big fan of sports so if they see a sports-themed slot machine, they are more prone to use it than someone who prefers something that is Egyptian themed.
Keep in mind, this is all taking place at a subconscious level. You don't even realize what is happening. All you know is you see a cool looking design and you want to start playing.
Just imagine playing a slot machine that had no bright colors. It was black and great. The only lights were the lights on the screen so you could see the symbols on the screen. Can you see yourself playing for hours on end? Most likely not because you would get bored. There's no life to it. Everything is so dull and there's nothing to capture your attention.
So next time when you use a slot machine, pay attention to its design and take note of how you are feeling. You will begin to see all of those subtle and not so subtle design choices that are affecting your feelings.