Have you ever wondered how the online casinos make you spend money? If so, give this article a read. Here, we look at the two most important ways they get you to part with your cash. I’ve also given you a few pointers to help you avoid the pitfalls as much as possible.
The Casinos Use Targeted Advertising to Make You Spend Money
Next time you arrive on a gambling site (including this one), think about how you get there. Did you follow an ad at the side of the page? If so, you likely fit the demographic the casino is looking for, and you should ask yourself why.
How does ‘targeted advertising’ work online?
Without boring you with the details, the online advertisers know a lot about you – they can often guess your age, income bracket, gender, whether you have a credit card and what your spending habits are. Targeted ads work by targeting people within a certain demographic that the business thinks will buy their product and engage with their services.
For example, gambling firms know that men are more likely to play poker than women. They then set up their adverts to appear on the computer, tablet or mobile phone of more men than women.
The online casinos understand who their perfect customers are and they use targeted adverts to find them. If you see an advert for a casino, then you have some attributes that make you more likely to gamble.
Some casinos have been underhand here. They’ve been targeting people with gambling addictions – who are extremely likely to spend (and lose) money.
How can you defend yourself?
You can protect yourself from targeted ads in several ways:
- Quit the internet (yeah right!)
- Use an ad blocker
- Delete cookies each time you visit a website
- Anticipate that the ads will blindside you from time-to-time and make a promise to yourself not to engage with them (can be easier said than done)
Being aware of the issue is half the battle, though, and we hope that we’ve not made you that little bit more cautious!
Tip: watch out for emails and private messages too. These people are sneaky and they’ll slide into your DMs and inboxes.
They Make You Spend Money Through Their Marketing Efforts
Do you believe that marketing works on you? Many people think they’re immune to it. You aren’t – and even when you understand how branding works, you’re still not immunised.
They Tailor the Branding to Your Personality (Yes, You!)
So, first of all, remember from the ‘targeted advertising’ section that the online casinos know who their best customers are. They use this information to create branding that captures your attention and makes you think that spending your money on casino games is a good idea.
They Trigger Your Emotions
People love to think of themselves as beings of pure rationality (think Spock from Star Trek), but we are more driven by emotions than many of us admit – or even realise.
How do they trigger your emotions?
- They make you think that the odds are more in your favour than they are. For example, writing up on big wins and making sure they stress the information that makes you relate to the winner. “Ordinary man with modest salary and 2.4 children wins humungous jackpot”. Or “100 customers win big every week with us!” – you think 100 people is a lot, but when they have 10,000 customers, your chance of winning a big prize is 1 in 1000.
- They choose the right colours. For instance, using high contrast colours catches your attention when they want you to know something important, e.g. your HIGH CHANCE OF WINNING. And, as you might have just noticed, contrast can work for non-colour variables too, like upper and lower case letters. Orange is a great colour for online casinos because it triggers optimism and a positive attitude. What better colour to make you think, “You will be the next winner”?
- Freebies and gifts: who doesn’t want a free present? The online casinos – with their welcome bonuses and promotions – are experts at this carrot and stick technique.
How do you protect yourself from their marketing efforts?
I already mentioned that knowing about these tricks doesn’t necessarily protect you from them, but this doesn’t mean that there’s no protection.
Instead of relying on your rationality and emotional control to stop you falling for the tricks, you need to put things into place that take the human out of the choices you make.
How do you do this? Here are a few ideas:
- Set spending limits – some casinos have mandatory limits that you set before they let you play. Once you’ve played through this amount, you can’t play more games until the limit resets the next day (or week).
- Use a specific card – use a credit or debit card that has a set limit so that you cannot overspend. The best option if you’re impulsive is to use a pre-paid debit card.
- Make yourself accountable – tell your spouse/partner/boss/mother/brother/someone/anyone that you only want to gamble a small amount. The social pressure can help A LOT.