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Why do casinos have ugly carpets?
Status: Rumor/SpeculationThere are many rumors about casinos. One I posted about earlier is the belief that casinos pump in oxygen to encourage people to gamble more. (It's not true). Another rumor focuses on the carpets in casinos, which are often noticeably ugly. The theory is that there must be some diabolical reason why they're so ugly.
David Schwartz, a historian of gambling, writes, "Casino carpet is known as an exercise in deliberate bad taste that somehow encourages people to gamble." He's collected an extensive gallery of photos of casino carpets.
There are four main theories to explain the carpets:
1) Colorful carpets better hide the stains (blood, vomit, etc.)
2) The carpets have subliminal themes and messages in them that encourage gambling. Schwartz (again) writes, "Many of the carpets use flowers and wheels, both suggestive of a cyclical life: flowers bud, bloom, and then die, and their beauty is only ephemeral. The wheel was famous to the Romans (note its prominence at Caesars Palace) as a symbol of the relentless capriciousness of fortune. Could both be subtle reminders to casino patrons that life and luck are fleeting, and one should eat, drink, and be merry before the morrow brings a swing in fortune?"
3) The ugliness of the carpets encourages people to look away from the floor and up at the gambling tables.
4) The intricate patterns are designed to conceal chips that gamblers accidentally drop. The High On Poker blog writes, "Rumor has it, casinos make lots of money with a machine not traditionally on the casino floor: the vacuum. The rumor goes that every night/morning during clean-up the vacuums pick up all sorts of chips that have fallen on the casino floor. The kaleidescope vomit [pattern] with its reds ($5 chips) and greens ($25 chips) would serve as a perfect way to fool patrons into losing their dropped chips."
I think theories 1 and 4 are the most convincing. I've accidentally dropped chips on a casino floor, and it is hard to see them amid the swirling patterns. (via High On Poker)