How casinos design their interiors
12.07.2018 Beograd

How casinos design their interiors

How casinos design their interiors Foto: Pixabay
Interior design is an important aspect of our everyday life. We live in an environment that we designed for ourselves or that somebody else designed for us, and our surroundings influence the way we feel, think and act. You might think that you are not affected by the room you are currently in, but these effects are psychologically proven.

One great example of how interior design influences us can be found in casinos. Big modern casinos put a lot of effort into how their interiors are designed. And they have a good reason to spend a lot of resources on this – the way the interior is designed and where individual elements influence players’ behavior. If casinos are able to utilize interior design to get their players to spend more money, their revenues will increase.

Let’s take a look at how casino interiors were designed in the past and how it’s done today.


Casino interior design in the past

As I already mentioned, casino interior design is extremely important. It’s one of the most important factors influencing how much money the casinos make. If a casino has a well-designed interior, its visitors spend more money and the casino is more profitable. It’s that simple.

So, how to they do it?

Of course, the approach of each individual casino might differ quite a lot, but the first well-defined set of casino interior design principles was put together by a man called Bill Friedman. You most likely never heard his name, but he is very well-known in the brick-and-mortar casino business.

Friedman’s publication with a long name “Designing casinos to dominate the competition: The Friedman international standards of casino design” made sure that basically every single casino interior designer has at least heard about him.

Friedman’s standards were based around dark interior, low ceilings, layouts similar to mazes, lack of decorative objects and other similar characteristics. The purpose of this design psychology was to keep players in the casino by keeping their focus on the gambling equipment and nothing else.

You might have heard about dark casinos with nothing but slot machines and roulette tables, with no clocks on the wall, so that the players don’t realize how long they’ve been gambling for. The reality goes much further than that, but the entire philosophy is too complex to be described in one article.

Friedman’s concept is not the most humane approach to interior design, but it maximized casinos’ revenues, so they kept using it. And they can’t be blamed for that.


Modern casino interior design

The design psychology described above worked well for a number of years, but then casino designers found a better way to design and build their interiors. The new casino design concept is most often called “playground design”, thanks to David Kranes and his publication from 1995 called simply “Play grounds”.

You might expect this design psychology to merely introduce small changes to the previously-used system, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the “playground design” violates many of Friedman’s principles and some concepts are even turned upside-down.

Kranes, as well as many other interior designers, realized that people don’t want to spend time in dark corners of casinos built according to Friedman’s principles. It might have worked for a long time, but it’s fair to say that people spending their money in dull casino interior generally don’t feel comfortable and aren’t happy.

The playground design opens up the space in the casino interior, which doesn’t act like a maze anymore. On the contrary. It’s supposed to feel welcoming, with plenty of natural light and decorative objects that were nowhere to be found in the past because of Friedman’s approach.

Roger Thomas, another famous casino interior designer, put it well in a piece by The New Yorker: “People don’t want to make bets when they feel trapped or overwhelmed or confused. That’s not the mood you want.”

That’s why the new design approach focuses on enlarging the space and making people feel more welcomed. It’s based on making people happy and having them spend more money on gambling that way, not on trapping them inside of a dark space and leaving them miserable after losing a lot of money.


Internet inspired by real-life design

It’s fair to say that the new design concept of land-based casinos has influenced the way online casinos are designed, as well. Online casinos also do everything in their power to influence players to gamble more. They can’t design their interior, because they don’t have any, but they are able to utilize similar principles when designing their websites.

And good design is not good only for getting existing customers to gamble more. It’s also a great tool for attracting new customers. Apart from using bonuses to get players to register and other aspects like having a good reputation and friendly customer support, a nice and functional website has the power to be a decisive factor for many potential customers.


Take a look inside a casino

Next time you are near a big and fancy casino, take a look inside. You should be able to spot at least some design principles mentioned in this article, either from the Friedman or the playground era. It’s interesting to think about those things and figure out what they do to influence people to spend more or less money in casinos.

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