Considerations in Casino Design
” Architecture organizes and structures space for us, and its interiors and the objects enclosing and inhabiting its rooms can facilitate or inhibit our activities by the way they use this language”(Lawson pg.6).
Casinos are tough and competitive markets that strive to out do one another in promotions, amenities and overall design. A critical analysis of the considerations taken when designing a casino can be broken down into the theoretical forces of psychology, that include motivational, cognitive, perceptual and social influences. In this examination I will determine the aspects of design that should be taken into account to create a successful operation.
” Casinos are often designed to make people feel submissive and to enhance emotional arousal” ( Guelph News Release). Casinos implement certain elements to induce these feelings such as identification checks and security officers, asymmetrical colors and designs and ambient noise levels. These perceptual influences evoke a social status in the patrons of the casino, either making them feel as if they are out of place or these subliminal tactics may not affect them at all. Casinos also use strategic placement of gaming tables versus slot machine and other support facilities to create a “labyrinth” quality that encourages a sense of adventure and exploration leading the customers all around the facility before even exposing them to anything other than that casino’s facilities. The patron’s perception is also altered in casinos by dismissing the use of clocks and the presence of windows on the gaming floor to give the sensation that there is no “down time” and patrons are encouraged to stay up all night on the floor. By providing them with twenty-four hour services and amenities, casino operators create a sensation for the patrons that the days spent in the casino feel as if you stepped out of normal time.
“The geographic location of a casino is a huge consideration” (Lewis pg. 1). Demographics, travel patterns and nearby competition play a significant part in casino design. ” Most people in North America live within a day’s drive of one or more gaming areas” (Lewis pg. 1), so in order to attract people to the casino there must be something other than the gaming floor to draw them in. Many amenity and non-gaming attractions must be considered in order to really stand out. The casino must design strong support facilities, a hotel that can accommodate as many players as it can afford, a parking system for the traveling patrons, non-gambling facilities for families and it must be an inviting space.
In order for a casino to be successful they must establish their target audience. Based on the proximity of neighboring casinos and the owner’s intentions for their ideal gaming facility, the criteria can be ascertained and implemented for a certain theme. Many casinos have found that themed areas and designs are very successful and draw in target markets. Patrons cognitively decide, generally based on pure aesthetics where they are going to go gamble, so themed casinos are perfect for targeting clientele. Where the casinos falter is that they often out reach past their intended clientele. ” Casinos that try to be “all things to all people” usually miss the mark” (Lewis pg.2). For example juxtaposing lavish interiors with low-budget buffets confuses the customers and often makes both the “high rollers” and the casual gambler feel uncomfortable.
As well casinos need to implement high technology convenience systems, such as Electronic Gaming Devices, information management systems, online slot monitoring, player tracking and “smart card” credits. Anything that gives the customer a sense that they are part of a new and innovative establishment is good for business. It gives the casino the social- competitive edge in the market.
In conclusion there are many factors in casino design, including the perceptual, cognitive, motivational and social forces guiding design ideas that influence which establishments are successful and which are not.
Lawson, Bryan. The Language of Space. Architectural Press. Burlington Ma. 1999
Lewis, Ron. “Article on Casino Design Considerations”. Gaming & Leisure International; June 1998:
University of Guelph News Release. “O of G researchers explore link between temperament, gambling” April 18 2002