August 13, 2021  Friday


I had a great discussion on BBC’s Business Daily radio programme. Their subject was about a sense of time and of timelessness in various aspects of life. I explained how a serious casino player is typically immersed in an escapist fantasy while gambling, and they can quickly turn it off if they become aware of the real time in the world around them.


Over the years, I have occasionally come across an article about how the Nevada casinos reinforced their players’ sense of timelessness, by eliminating all the clocks and by covering up their exterior windows and doors to keep the rising sunlight from making their players aware of the real time in the outside world. These articles inevitably present the casino operators’ actions as Machiavellian manipulation intended to take advantage of their players. The truth is that about three-quarters of a century ago, the serious players demanded the casino operators remove the clocks and cover up the rising sunlight, if they wanted to keep them coming back to gamble at their casino.


I witnessed the players’ negative reaction to rising sunlight many times during my career. I frequently stood and observed player behavioral patterns in the casinos I managed, my competitors’ casinos, the other casinos in Las Vegas, and the many casinos in cities around the world to whom I consulted. As I stood in the background watching the goings on in these casinos, it always amazed me that when the players could see the rising sunlight through the glass doors or windows, it took just a few minutes for the majority of  players to cash out and leave the casino.


It is clear all these late-night players did not quit playing at the same time to go to work, or from simultaneous tiredness, because I never saw a mass exodus like this in any casino that had the sunlight blocked out. I have occasionally seen mass exoduses in the evening, when a hot live band in the lounge ended its performance. In these cases, all the players each had some reason to leave, but all held back from taking off as long as music they were loving was flowing through the casino.