The psychological effects of listening context on responses to music have been scientifically neglected, despite the prevalence of music in our daily lives. Until not long ago, there wasn’t any research conducted on music’s influence in gambling environments (land-based or online casinos), although casino games have become popular choices of entertainment.
The Role of Music in Land-Based Casinos
In 2004, scientists carried out an exploratory observational research study on arcades that tried to identify background music’s effects and how slot machines use catchy sounds in their design. The results showed that arcades often use music that their target audience enjoys, stimulating impulsive gambling behavior.
On top of that, the slot machine soundtracks seem to significantly influence the gamblers’ perception regarding the machine (such as quality, familiarity, and the sound associated with winning). Thus, scientists suggest that music, whether used in the environment or the game itself, is a decisive factor in developing and maintaining addictive gambling behavior.
How casino sounds influence the gambler’s subconscious
Early studies on the influence of music show that when customers in a store are exposed to loud music, their shopping rate (how much they buy per minute spent in the shop) was higher than when quiet music was playing. Still, consumers would spend proportionally less time in the supermarket, so the final results were similar in terms of profit.
Starting from this basis, it can be speculated that people will spend more money in a gambling establishment because their behavior is limited to factors like the number of times it is possible to gamble within a given time period. Scientists do not doubt that music affects both our perception of the environment and spending. They discovered a positive correlation between the ratings of the music and the ratings of the listening environment.
Scientific proof shows us that music plays a crucial role in the atmosphere and buyer intent, especially in a commercial environment. Another study uncovered that music can increase or decrease the sales of wine based on the type of music played in the background.
Given the previous analysis, another area worthy of investigation is background music in gambling environments and the use of music in casino games like slot machine soundtracks. Plenty of authors argue that sound effects can induce gambling behavior.
On top of that, their research shows that the constant noise in the gambling establishment(like money falling into the payout tray or sounds played when you get a winning combination) will create the impression of a fun and exciting environment where winning occurs more often than losing(especially since there is no sound for that).
The importance of music in slot machines
Music plays a vital role in slots, particularly with newer machines themed after video games, TV series, or movies. The music played in the slot machine will form the gambler’s impression regarding the game, as the mind associates it with:
- Quality of Machine – Music quality is essential. Most gamblers compare the slot’s quality with the quality of the sound effects and music it has. For some of them, the sounds are the primary reason for choosing a particular slot to play.
- Distinctiveness – Game designers use music to create a distinctive feature that players will remember, facilitating gambling in the future. For example, Red Gaming uses a unique guitar sound when slot uses the gamble feature, like on the slot machine Rampage. Researchers have noted that gamers that play this slot were more likely to play again due to the music, hoping to win the jackpot and hearing the rock music anthem.
- Sound of Winning – Music can send a signal that somebody won on the slot to both the player and those in his vicinity. Sound has the power to raise self-esteem and extend playtime. Sounds of winning are used for creating the illusion that a positive outcome is more common than losing.
- Familiarity – psychologists show that the name of slot machines and the sound they make are essential in acquiring gambling behavior. Frequently, slots are named after familiar events, famous places, persons, or films that players can relate to. It is considered that media-related slots are more enticing, inducing a psycho-structural interaction that increases the chance of repeat use. Thus, familiarity has a persuasive effect on players, raising the time and money they spent on the slot.
What is the role of music in online casinos?
Nowadays, people are shifting towards online casinos because of the accessibility they have to offer. Players can enjoy their favorite slots and table games directly from their portable devices, meaning that the playtime can be extended drastically.
Studies show a direct correlation between the growth in popularity of video games and gambling addiction because designers use mechanics and sound borrowed from slot machines to keep the players hooked.
Since the competition is continuously increasing in the online gambling market, operators have started re-creating key psychological triggers present in land-based casinos that will entice the users, keeping them entertained and spending more. Music is essential for player retention, as it gives users the vibe of being in a physical casino. Additionally, there are thousands of new slots that are only available online. They all have unique music and sound effects that can trigger gambling behavior in different ways.
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Despite not having enough empirical data yet, and most studies are purely theoretical, specialists have concluded that music has a role in the acquisition, formation, and maintenance of gambling behavior. Based on scientific observation, slot machines are more appealing depending on the music playing in the background or from the machine itself.
Therefore, it’s safe to assume that music is critical for the gambling industry, as it increases the confidence of the player, it can have a relaxing effect, make the player ignore previous losses, and even induce a romantic affective state that might mislead users to think that his chances of winning are higher.