That's right. The gambling industry takes advantage of the way we process information to make their games more and more attractive. And they're succeeding at it.
Have you ever wondered why most games don't make any sound when you lose on a spin, contrary to the music and colour show that comes up when we win? It doesn't matter if you bet 2 C$ and end up winning 1 C$, games are designed to highlight every small win to keep us coming back for more. It's part of the psychology of slot machines.
Slot Machine Psychology
It's behavioural psychology 101: the theory of Skinner and operational conditioning. When you get small but repetitive winnings, no matter if they are lower than what you had risked, the brain assumes there's a positive consequence to your behaviour and tends to continue betting.
It's called Intermittent Reinforcement. The fact that winning is unpredictable has the brain expecting a positive outcome with every spin, and when we make earnings, there's a euphoric response that could even lead to gambling addiction. The randomness of prizes and amounts can only achieve that.
Lights, Sounds, Spins, Action!
The psychology of slot machines is designed to communicate three words to you: "Win, win, and win." Every bell ringing, change clanging, light flashing... they all say one word: "WIN."
Everything that surrounds these games is designed flawlessly in every detail. No matter if it is an adventure in the jungle or a treasure hunting in the depth of the sea. Experts in the psychology of colour and social stimuli counsel graphic designers to create luring layouts for these games.
How Do Humans Perceive Near Miss?
Another casino advantage related to this kind of games is the presence of near misses. Although they can't legally program a slot machine to show near misses, they're still there, and every time we're close to a big win, slot machine psychology makes our brain react as if our chances to achieve have increased. Casinos take advantage of this by rewarding or highlighting near misses.
Free Spins, A Psychological Technique?
You should know by now, buddy. Nothing in life is free. Not even that set of ten free spins a slot machine has just "granted" you at no extra cost.
The word "free" has a special connotation in advertising. It is possible to mislead customers into spending more money just by adding a "free" feature. Why does this apply to casino gambling? Because it takes no effort to obtain it, no matter how you got there in the first place.