We get a lot of our impressions about cities we have yet to visit from the movies: Paris is often portrayed as less hectic than it really is; New York is certainly less aggressive; and, London is perhaps less quaint and communal. But when it comes to Las Vegas, the imprint in our minds is cliché wrapped in a stereotype, but so many aspects of the city are different than its portrayals.
Casinos and gambling are very much part of the fabric of the city, and the heartbeat of the economy, but they have changed in several ways over the last couple of decades, and you might be surprised if your reference for the city had previously been Rain Man or the works of Hunter S. Thompson.
For a start, the idea that the city only revolves around gambling alone should be dismissed. Yes, almost everything is linked to gambling, even indirectly, but that does not mean you won’t find a city of world-class dining and a surprising amount of culture.
Casinos aim for zen-like luxury
But it’s also a fact that the casinos themselves are changing, moving away from all the clichés and truisms you might have encountered in the past. Consider the idea of the casino floor layout, which was once designed in a labyrinth-like manner to cause confusion and thereby encourage people to gamble more. That ethos has disappeared from the top casinos in Las Vegas.
If you take the Wynn Las Vegas, for example, it has aimed for the opposite of this psychological trick. The Wynn is famous for its floral arrangements and zen-like atmosphere. The idea is that you will not be confused, but enchanted. In a way, the psychology at play is to surround you with opulence and to suggest that the way to attain this high life is through gambling.
As for the games on offer, the typical casino floor can’t be compared to an online brand like Mansion in terms of the sheer volume and variety of games, but there is still a lot more variation than in the past. This is most notable when it comes to slot games, with many of the world’s top developers showing off their high-tech video slot machines in Vegas.
Lights and sounds have changed
In the past, a cacophony of sound was associated with the gaming floor. Again, psychology was at work, with loud noises and jackpot sirens creating an association in your mind with winning money. That has been toned down a bit. But it has been widely replaced by other sounds, like that sci-fi like sound effects that accompany the bonus features in slot games.
You should also be aware that other strategies have changed. Natural light – night and day – has been incorporated into the casinos, and you will find clocks on the wall. Again, this is from the new theory that comfort, rather than confusion, will cause you to gamble more.
All through Las Vegas, a change in atmosphere is occurring. A lot of the famed hedonism is confined to pool parties and nightclubs, and you’ll find a much more sophisticated atmosphere in the casinos. For some, the feeling that it has become sanitized might take away from the allure of Las Vegas, certainly those who saw the seedy underbelly was part of its charm. But you can still find a good party if you want one.