Is Your Grocery Store Designed Like a Casino?

min read
Symbols of the grocery booking process in neon lighting.
BetMGM Mar 01, 2023, 11:32 AM

Have you ever been struck by the complex floor layout of a casino? That is because they are indeed complex by design. Casino designers consider the basics of consumer psychology to keep players engaged for longer. Could the same be said for grocery stores? Perhaps the real reason you never leave the store with just one item is also the result of the clever use of consumer psychology. 

Join us as we uncover the surprising link between grocery stores and casinos and discuss some of the best food-themed online slot machines.

Casino design and grocery store design

Casinos have come a long way from being dimmed rooms with rows of games. The contemporary casino is designed with player psychology in mind. It’s not just the gambler’s fallacy that affects your psychology when you play, but the casino architecture itself. Do you know grocery stores are using the same strategy? Let’s look at how grocers and betting venues are playing tricks on your mind.

Confusing floor layout and design

The casino’s floor plan is a key design feature. Making you feel as if you’re stuck in a maze or a labyrinth when you visit a casino is not a coincidence, but a tactical choice. The design makes it harder for you to find your way out and you’ll pass as many enticing games as possible before you reach the exit. 

Your grocery store is no different. While in the past you could rely on a mental map to quickly get to whatever you needed in the store, floor plans today keep changing to make it harder to find the thing you need. It’s like a treasure hunt, so (unsurprisingly,) the most-needed items like bread, milk or eggs are usually kept in the back. By the time you reach them, you’ve filled your cart with a whole bunch of items you don’t really need.

The illusion of time standing still

In a casino, it’s almost impossible to know what time of the day it is. Unless you have a watch or phone with you, the design shuts out all the natural indicators of time your mind depends on. Firstly, there are never any clocks in casinos. Checking your watch or smartphone takes more intentional effort; what’s more, if you’re locked into a game, you won’t do it. This is why players very often lose track of time and play for much longer than they intend without realizing it. 

Casinos also don’t have any visible windows on the floor, making it even harder to keep track of time. Similarly, grocery stores don’t have clocks or visible windows. You could be shopping for hours without realizing it. Unless you have an appointment and have to keep track of time, you probably won’t know the time until you leave the store. 

Purposeful positioning of items or games

The layouts of both casinos and grocers aren’t simply intended to confuse or delay you. It’s almost as if the designer has created a map with landmarks to ensure consumers move in the right direction and visit all the spots on the map. When you enter a casino or a grocer, you’re taking the scenic route to whatever item you want and there will be enticing offers, games and pointers to keep you on it.

Research shows that objects on our left catch our attention more than those on our right. This is why grocery stores like to steer consumers to travel in a counterclockwise direction. To achieve this, they put visually attractive items in the store to the right of the entrance. Grocers place staple items such as bread and milk at opposite ends far away from each other, so consumers will move around the whole store. 

A casino’s consumer map is more consumer-specific. Casinos want to guide their high-rollers and casual players to different parts of the casino floor. This is why the casino floor is separated and the design leads high-rollers to an area with higher-limit games. Casual players with smaller budgets are steered to sections with slots and low-limit table games. These games are conveniently located on their way to the elevator, bathroom and lobby in order to keep customers constantly engaged and in playing mode. 

Catering to different consumer demographics

Casino and grocery store design also considers demographics. For example, casinos know female gamblers usually enjoy slots but prefer smaller crowds. To accommodate them, casinos always make sure there are many slots available to play away from busy sections. For younger players, the casino clusters games closer together to encourage socializing. User demographics can even influence the venue’s lighting and game priority.

Similarly, your grocery store design caters to different demographics. For example, managers can place toys near the stationery aisle to entice younger visitors. Items targeted at children are usually on lower shelves for them to see and reach. 

The rule of odds

Using the rule of odds is a well-known casino trick. But do you know that grocery stores are experimenting with it too? While casinos use deposit bonuses and promotions, grocery stores place big discounts on items customers usually need to buy, such as toilet paper. These bigger deals get you inside the store, where you’ll then find smaller items marked up and discount promotions on bulk purchases. Just like you end up depositing more and spending more time in a casino, you also end up buying much more from your grocery store under the guise of savings. 

Luckily, casinos continue to evolve as their clientele evolves. With more and more players opting to play casino table games and slots online, brick-and-mortar casinos are finding ways to draw new clientele. Designers are incorporating more tech-friendly elements like Wi-Fi and charging stations. They’re also breaking some casino design rules and incorporating natural lighting and displays in their facilities. Modern casinos are repositioning their layouts to make them more social-friendly and entertainment-focused.

Fun food-themed online casino slots to play

Knowing exactly what game you want to play will help you get straight to where you need to be. Here are some fun food-themed slots to spin at the BetMGM online casino. 

Fruit Shop

This 5-reel NetEnt fruit-themed slot has 15 paylines and a return to player (RTP) of 96.8%.

All You Can Spin Sushi

This BetMGM exclusive slot is a 3×3 reel game with a progressive jackpot and an RTP of 93.10%.

Chilli Prize Pot

This Inspired Gaming 5×3 reel slot is new to the BetMGM catalog. The spicy Mexican-themed slot has an RTP of 94.98%

Avoiding consumer psychology traps

Now that you know how casinos use psychology, you’re ready to play slots responsibly and take back control of your gaming. Grocery store psychology traps shouldn’t scare you. They should encourage you to stay mindful when you’re shopping. As you would in a casino, set a spending and time budget and stick to it. If you want to go the extra mile, read books on strategic thinking to improve your play and make you less susceptible to design tricks.

If slots aren’t your thing, join a game of poker or blackjack at our online or live casinos. When you play at our live casino online, you can join a virtual table and interact with real dealers and players!

Start playing with the best online casino and join BetMGM

Our live dealer online casino delivers all the thrills of land-based gaming without the complicated mazes. We offer live table games with real dealers, plus thousands of other themed online casino games and slots. Register with us to start playing at home or on the go on your mobile devices.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.