HomeArticlesHow Casinos Use Smell To Hack Your Brain – Cheddar Examines
How Casinos Use Smell To Hack Your Brain – Cheddar Examines
August 27, 2019
A small metal box is attached to the ventilation system of almost all the casinos on the Las Vegas Street. The boxes release vaporized oils into the air ducts, where they’re swept through the system and spread through the casino floor. Their purpose; to hack your memory. This isn’t the plot of a ’60s Bond movie, it’s real and it’s probably happened to you. Before casinos catch us sniffing around, make sure you click “SUBSCRIBE”. You’re already here. In 1991, a man named Mark Peltier went to Las Vegas to talk to the owners of one of the most famous casinos on the Street, “The Mirage”. He showed them the sense that would make gamblers want to stay longer and come back sooner and spend more money. The Mirage was thrilled and installed a football sized box in their ventilation system. It was shockingly expensive but The Mirage thought it was worth it. Soon, other resorts began to follow suit. Mark and his Company, AromaSys, installed boxes in the Bellagio, The Venetian, Mandalay Bay, The Wynn, and The Encore and a lot more. Each one smelled like the ideal version of their location. The Bellagio smells of Northern Italy, The Mirage smells Polynesian, Mandalay Bay smells Southeast Asian. The Wynn and The Encore, both have very unique smells, that Steve Wynn and Mark designed together. “Mr. Wynn has extraordinary sensory ideas and knows exactly what he wants. You may never smell anything like that in the world.” The Venetian smell is called Seduction and apparently smells pretty musky. “I actually think it’s turned up a little too strong but the management insists on it being that way and actually kind of resented me offering my opinion.” Peltier said. Peltier has a specific formula when he makes a scent for a new hotel. Citrus is refreshing, floral and woody smells are relaxing, herbaceous smells can be relaxing like lavender or energizing like peppermint. Mark uses a combination of these smells to evoke moods and environments, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Before Mark and AromaSys, casino fragrances were just used to cover up the smell of tobacco smoke. But Mark changed the game. He realized early on that scent was really important in selling anything. But in 1991, we didn’t know the science behind why and now we do. This is a really recent discovery. The scientist who discovered all this got a Nobel Prize for it in 2004. This is what the inside of our nose looks like. Here at the back of the nose underneath the mucus layer, is a strip of tissue called olfactory epithelium. It has millions of sensory neurons that are each keyed to receive only one or two types of odors. Then they’re transmitted as odor in patterns to the brain, where they’re organized to become smells. These odor in patterns are sent to the olfactory bulb which is right here, right next to the amygdala which regulates emotion and the hippocampus which stores memory. Visual, auditory and tactile data don’t go anywhere near them which makes scent essentially their only trigger. An important smell can create a flow state, where one loses the normal sense of time and is transported back to the time when they first smell that.