Brain Hack: The Ugly Carpets of Vegas

I absolutely love reading about brain hacks like this one.

The Ugly Carpets of Vegas are Hideously Clever Social Engineering at Work

Although I didn’t read any obvious psychological reasoning behind using gaudy carpets, you have to assume there’s a real hack there.

Personally, I think the surreal carpeting adds to the simultaneous sensory depravation and overload of the casino. No natural light or clocks, uncomfortably cold, lots of booze, loud noises, flashing lights and mad carpeting.

Interesting stuff.

Update: Steven Chan emailed me with an explanation about casino carpets. A friend of his who teaches at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration says the carpet is deliberately designed to camouflage chips that commonly fall on it. Apparently, casinos sweep up a large number of chips daily.

Casinos are fascinating business.




  1. When my parents had a toy store in Henderson, my stepfather got a great deal on red shag carpet from a hotel furnishings reseller. yeesh. The dark side of DIY, for sure. I had blocked it out of conscious memory until I read this post.

    Maybe the patterns are to make gamblers think the watered-down booze is stronger than it is. They want the paradoxical stimulant and inhibition reduction effects of low-dose alcohol, not falling down drunks.

  2. Steve Chan provided an explanation from a knowledgable source, i.e. the patterns are designed to hide chips, further strengthening the house’s advantage.

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