Every year, millions of dollars are poured into creating the perfect casino layout. From the color scheme to the floor plan, every detail must be perfect to make sure users keep coming back time and again. An often-unnoticed element in these meticulously crafted plans is the audio system. And it isn’t just land-based casinos that stand to benefit from a professionally designed system. Online casinos are utilizing sound now more than ever to enhance the user experience. So, what are the ins and outs of casino audio system design?
Hardware Layout in Land-Based Casinos
Casinos call to mind bright lights, loud noises and flashy colors. In fact, that’s what most people are searching for when becoming part of the casino crowd. A night out needs to be exciting, and the sound system plays a significant role in that. However, the sound must be balanced carefully in casinos. Overbearing sounds can quickly become unpleasant, driving customers to the quieter parts of the venue and eventually, out the door. Fortunately for casinos, this can all be controlled with hardware layout.
The right sound system in the right place can make a gambler’s night out, providing a cheerful and fun backdrop against which they can play. (Photo by Stratosphere Hotel & Casino, CC BY-ND)
Hardware layout is the extra element that land-based casinos have to consider when it comes to an audio system but it’s the first thing developers must consider when designing the system. No matter how good the sounds are and what psychological effect they have on the players, the system won’t work unless the placement is carefully considered. Why is this?
Each area of the casino is different and requires a different level of sound depending on the setting. For example, you cannot put the same system in place around the slot machine area that you install around the gaming tables. It won’t work. Slot machines already have their unique sounds, which enthrall the user and beg no distraction. Developers won’t waste money installing surround-sound hardware here because they don’t need it.
On the gaming floor, things are different. The party-style atmosphere requires an intense sound system to fuel the parade of sights and emotions that manifest there. Each different area of the gaming floor requires different hardware based on the mood of the games being played there. The raucous roulette tables would need an obtrusive system while the poker room would require an entirely different set of hardware.
All land-based casino hardware systems need to be set up for complete control always and must be accessible and easy to use for casino staff. (Photo by Vancouver Film School, CC BY)
Not only that, but hardware must be installed to allow the control of volume between tables and the reverberation between higher and lower ceilings. This may be accomplished by using control panels to create sound zones throughout the casino, which may be adjusted as the venue goes through changes in later years. Seems like a lot? That’s just the beginning. Casino sounds, music and volume levels are perhaps even more important than the hardware and require a different set of skills to choose.
Gaming Floor Music and Game Sounds
Casino audio must be carefully chosen because each area of games usually requires different music and sounds. For example, the roulette table is consistently in an uproar. People gather around, they cheer and boo and make a lot of noise. The atmosphere is excitable, so it requires more obtrusive sounds to fuel the setting. Popular music needs to come through the speakers loudly and cheerfully, encouraging the spin of the wheel.
In contrast, the poker tables are much more intense. Players here have worked hard to develop the skills that have helped place them there, especially at high-stakes tables. These games require intense levels of concentration, and audio developers must respect this. Loud pop music over a poker table is an insult. It suggests a light and playful atmosphere when people are conducting serious business and presents the venue as an unprofessional place. All game music must be carefully thought out before being implemented. Even slot machine sounds must be carefully selected.
Since slot machines are such a significant part of how the U.K. likes to gamble, it makes sense that audio developers spend so much time and effort on slot sound creation. ( Infographic by MobileSlots4U)
A 2013 study found that slot players gravitated toward winning sounds, with those sounds having a measurable effect on physical response and game interaction. In other words, players played more accompanied by the right slot machine sounds, with the music coming from the speakers around them providing background noise to the task at hand. But it should not interfere with the sounds of the slot machine, and as such, should be unobtrusive yet cheery. However, land-based casinos aren’t the only ones who need to be wired for sound. Audio is just as important if not more important at online venues.
Online Casino Audio
Since online casinos do not have the advantage of an immersive sensory experience, they have to rely heavily on audio to entice users and keep attention focused. The online games need to be accompanied by the same tailored music experience that users find in land-based casinos. But because online casinos are at a sensory disadvantage, their audio must be crafted much more carefully. Online casino audio developers must use special gaming music software, complete with lifelike sounds that are appropriate for each game.
A designer creates the perfect slot machine audio track, complete with bright background music and traditionally enticing sounds. (source: Benjamin Piche)
Players often judge an online casino based on the quality of the audio they hear, so venues have to be careful in audio development. Players can sometimes vet out a disreputable online casino by their audio alone. It will be shoddy, poorly made and generic. Trusted venues have engaging and professionally made sounds tailored to fit specific games. You can see examples of this on sites such as 888Casino elite lounge, a big-name brand offering the complete package. The audio is professionally designed and custom-made for this brand, providing a unique experience.
Professional online casinos know that the sounds you hear have a direct impact on the way you engage with the games (Photo by Bruce Mars, CC0)
When players become immersed in well-made audio, they won’t settle for anything less the next time around. Therefore, an audio system in an online casino has the potential to create brand loyalty just by being professional and well-placed within a site.
Audio systems are critical for both land-based and online casinos. A poor-quality one can wreak havoc on a casino’s reputation and profit margins. A high-quality one can create the perfect user experience, enticing customers to return. And loyal customers create successful casinos. So, the next time you sit down to play casino games (or to develop a gaming system), make sure you pay special attention to the audio.