Given the way they get portrayed in movies and TV shows, it’s hardly surprising most people think casinos are the epitome of glamour. In reality however…well, let’s just say a surprising contingency of casino first-timers come away from the experience more than a little disillusioned.
Now, it’s important to remember that this particular rant does not apply to literally every single casino on the face of the earth. Quite to the contrary, as there are certain gambling institutions that really do deliver those James Bond levels of sophistication. It’s just that quite a lot – maybe even the majority – don’t. And this counts double when visiting casinos overseas, where house rules and general etiquette often take a nosedive.
So just to inject a little (unfortunate) reality into the whole thing, here are a few reasons why casinos in the real world are often not quite as glamorous as you think:
1 – The Noise
First of all, the noise in a busy casino can be nothing short of overwhelming. It’s a cacophony of deafening sounds that may at first be exciting, but soon enough become both distracting and debilitating. Of course, it’s not as if distraction makes a huge difference when playing the kinds of games that are 100% luck-based, anyway. But at the same time, if you think you’re in for a quiet and relaxing evening where you can chat as opposed to shout, you can usually forget about it.
2 – Smoke
Depending on where you head to indulge in a little casino action, many still have designated smoking areas indoors. In fact, some still allow smoking throughout in certain countries. But even in instances where smoking areas are separated, the smell of the stuff still has a habit of permeating the entire place. Of course, this all comes down to personal preferences, but those who are particularly offended by the smell of cigarette smoke should consider their options carefully when deciding on the casino.
3 – The Audience
There’s definitely something to be said about the buzz and atmosphere of a busy casino. That is, just as long as you don’t mind any number of strangers peering over your shoulder and watching every move you make. Particularly when playing casino table games, it’s the norm for crowds of any given size to gather and watch the action as it unfolds. Some get a real kick out of this kind of audience participation and pressure – others absolutely cannot stand it. If you fall into the latter category, you might want to think about attending real-life casinos during quieter times.
4 – The Drunks
While some casinos have an absolute zero-tolerance policy when it comes to inebriation, some both tolerate and even encourage it. Giving out free drinks on an on-going basis to those who stick around long enough is a great way of lowering inhibitions, boosting confidence and getting customers to make the worst possible decisions with their wagers. All of which adds up to healthy returns for the house. The only problem being that those who do not drink (or prefer to drink in moderation) may find themselves surrounded by any number of drunks, doing little to brighten the experience. Once again, this is something that is very much dependent on the casino you choose, so choose wisely!
5 – Intimidation
Attending a real-life casino inherently means playing alongside other gamblers at all levels. It also often means having no choice but to play alongside those who are either vastly more advanced than you, or at least like to think they are. There’s always a select handful of overly confident, overly smug sods hanging around casinos, who are not content with focusing on their own activities and choose instead to look down on others and make them feel uncomfortable. Which can be particularly problematic if you are a newcomer and simply looking to learn the ropes for the first time. Which is why we usually recommend learning the ropes with an online casino, before making your way to a real-life casino.
6 – Darkness
Well, maybe not darkness as such, are definitely a complete and total lack of natural light. It’s no coincidence that casinos go to extreme lengths to ensure you have no idea what’s happening outside and no clue as to what time it is. Instead, it’s all to do with ensuring that you lose track of time to the maximum possible extent and spend as much cash as possible before leaving. In order to remain as grounded and refreshed as possible, it is generally advisable to make your way outdoors at least once every hour or two, as peering out of a window simply isn’t an option.
8 – Bar Prices
If you don’t spend enough money to qualify for free drinks or simply want something that isn’t included on the free drinks menu, expect to pay a small fortune for it. They may give away plenty of alcohol free of charge, but when it comes to the prices they charge for everything else…well, let’s just say it augments the money you may have saved with any of the freebies.
9 – Surly Security
While it’s definitely not something that applies to every casino without exception, a lot of casinos hire the kinds of surly security guards that make you feel like a criminal despite having done nothing wrong. While some security guards are great at getting the job done discreetly and amicably, others stroll around the place as if desperately suspicious of each and every customer in there. Which for obvious reasons does not add up to a particularly comfortable experience.
10 – Memberships
Last but not least, there’s also the fundamentally annoying process of having to sign up for a membership of some description with each and every casino you intend to visit. Of course it’s no different online, but it still tends to be much more drawn out, complicated and annoying with real-life casinos. And just as soon as you sign up, you’d better be ready for the torrent of junk mail that follows, both through your letterbox and in your e-mail inbox.
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