The Subtle Ways That Music Affects Your Gambling Experience

When they invented the word ‘subtle’, did they genuinely slip that ‘b’ in by accident? Or were the ancients just trolling us? Who knows? Subtlety is everywhere in real life, and your gambling experience doesn’t escape it.

Far from it, the casinos do all sorts of things to you that you’re barely aware of. I’ve already talked about some of the ways the online casinos manipulate us into spending money and how real-world casinos use psychological trickery to stop us from leaving.

Today, I’m going to teach you about some of the ways real-world and online casinos use music to influence your behaviour. You might be surprised by the power of music to affect your choices.

If you read the articles above, then you’ll know that casinos think carefully about their set up. They overlook nothing – from the colour of the chips to the position of the slot machines – they plan it all in such a way that it keeps you playing.

And music is no exception, both in real life and online, they use it to influence your gambling choices. Let’s find out how…

Welcome, Stranger

There’s a famous song by The Doors that sums this principle up nicely:

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When a person feels out of place somewhere, it’s their instinct to want to escape. The casinos don’t want this at all. They want you to feel welcome and at home. As well as the comfy, plush, chairs and surrounds (OK, yeah, it depends where you go. Sticky floors that smell of cheese aren’t exactly homely, but the classier casinos are comfortable) they use music to make you feel comfortable.

It’s the siren, luring unwary gamblers to scotch on the rocks in the hopes they’ll stay and spend their money. And it’s literally sirens at times – what’s more familiar to frequent gamblers than the sirens, whistles and bells of the machines? Other times it’s the use of old-timey songs or relaxing music.

So, it’s not just about the music, it’s about all the filler sounds too. The casinos do it all on purpose.

I don’t know if the casinos do this yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if casinos (and other venues that don’t want you to leave) start to pick up on trends like ASMR and Binaural beats, which may be able to influence your mood and attention. Whether they actually do is still up for debate, but if you start hearing odd clicks, taps, whirs and beats, y’all will know what’s up.

Fast Music Might Make You Impulsive

Fast music can make a game feel more exciting at a critical moment. If you’ve ever played Tetris with the sound on, you know this feeling:

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OH MY GOOOOOOO…PANIC STATIONS!!! MUST DROP ALL TILES AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.

Translate that to casino games, especially slot machines, you can see how the sound effects can carry you off into the lands of compulsive/Impulsive coin dropping. When you feel time is running out, you start to act irrationally.

Speeding up the music helps create this illusion of time pressure. And it’s subtle. The music doesn’t go from slow to fast instantly, it builds up so that by the time you’re in the zone, you haven’t even noticed yourself being nudged there by the sound effects.

Crafty, aren’t they? Unless music theory is your passion, you might not be aware of all the ways that it can influence you.

I watched an interesting video about harmony, which is the process of putting emotion into music. By the end of the video, I had no idea what they were talking about, but it was clear to see how music influences emotion:

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Take Away

The casinos use music in subtle ways to influence your gambling experiences and, consequently, your behaviour. By understanding this, you might be able to save yourselves, but failing that turn off the volume on your computer/mobile/tablet and wear earbuds to IRL casinos.

Musical notes on a wire to represent the effect of music on gambling experience