How Casino Operators & Moviemakers Make Great Use Of Lighting

It may not be immediately apparent to the casual observer, but the sharp-eyed among us should be able to notice a certain way (or two ways, rather) that casinos use lighting, and it’s all to do with customer retention.

As the Vegas Strip amply displays, outside the casinos it’s all flashing neon lights; that whole glitz-and-glamour atmosphere. It’s the buildings’ equivalent of peacocking, trying to bring in droves by advertising that inside their front doors, it’s all fun and games.

Which it is, at that, but once you do go inside, you’ll notice that the lighting tends to get dimmer, and maybe not quite so epilepsy-inducing. What it’s actually meant to do is to give patrons that warm, cozy ambiance that helps them relax. The more relaxed they get, the higher the chances of them staying longer to enjoy themselves.

Obviously, lighting schemes have a profound effect on how we perceive things, both sensually as well as psychologically. It’s something that those entrenched in the visual arts know of and utilize to great effect; filmmakers most especially.

Take, for instance, Martin Scorsese’s ode to the mob-run past of Las Vegas: the aptly-titled Casino, which you can read about here. To convey the kind of intense lifestyle that these mobsters lead, the director uses bright and flashy lights that are also highly saturated. Apart from giving audiences a visual representation and a feel of said lifestyle without the movie having to state it outright, the lighting also subtly hints at how these casino runners flaunt how they can get away operating these gaming establishments pseudo-legally. With the director’s unique touch, these Vegas lights carry an intention that’s far more than just the aforementioned peacocking.

At the other end of the spectrum is the lighting scheme employed by Martin Campbell in his James Bond foray with Casino Royal. In direct contrast to that “other” Martin, Campbell prefers setting the pivotal poker scene with lowered brightness and saturation, giving only the slightest of lighting focus on the subjects. The idea is to create a sense of calm despite the inherent sinister underpinnings of the whole situation. Bond’s game, after all, is about maintaining complete control over himself, not just because poker requires it, but also because it’s one of the major points of his character’s development arc.


What these two movies demonstrate is that certain lighting setups do bring out certain responses from people. And as stated above, casino operators have this down to a tee that even their online counterparts are getting in on the act. When Gaming Realms rebranded their mobile casino, one of the changes they sought to make was to switch from a bright purple background into a textured black background, with the hopes that what that lighting does to brick-and-mortar establishments also translates online. You can visit the site here and see the effects that lower lighting and dimmer colours have on the overall atmosphere, even to that of an online casino.

Ultimately, it’s about getting that particular “feel”. Master manipulators of light, whether from the moviemaking world or the casino business, create visual textures to help them attain that feel.

Author’s Bio:

Kat Aiken has always been enchanted by the many strategies employed by corporations and big businesses to make their establishments appealing to the common man, and she believes that these same strategies can be used in any home as well! From the way lighting is used to the way furniture is arranged, Kat believes big business strategies can be applied in small home environments, and she’s here to share what she knows with you.


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