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AAA Music | 17 December 2018

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The Undeniable Link Between Music And Casinos

| On 18, Jul 2018

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Everything we do, and every decision we make in life can be seen as a gamble. In our work, our relationships and our day to day lives, we mentally weigh up odds, decide how much risk we are prepared to take and whether the potential returns are worth it. It’s hardly surprising that so many songs focus on the concept of gambling, from Madonna to Motorhead.

But there is also a literal connection between the world of the casino gambler and music. Back in the immediate post war years, Las Vegas was a grubby little city full of smoke-filled gambling dens frequented by shady characters. Today, it is still predominantly associated with its casinos, but it is also one of the most popular leisure destinations on the planet, and welcomes around 40 million tourists every year. So what’s changed? It’s all about the music.

From Sinatra to Elvis to….. Celine Dion

More than 40 years after his death, Las Vegas is still synonymous with The King of Rock and Roll. However, the transformation of Las Vegas actually started a generation earlier when the Rat Pack, and in particularly, Frank Sinatra, started performing in intimate lounge settings to provide entertainment for the gamblers and attract more visitors to the city.

It started a trend that grew and grew. The Elvis era brought with it the lights and razzmatazz, and elevated the whole Vegas experience to a new level. Liberace played there from the 1950s right up to his death 30 years later, and his shows got more outrageous with every passing year. Today, Celine Dion is in the seventh year of her Las Vegas residency at Caesar’s Palace and has played around 400 shows to date.

The music is more important than ever

To understand the importance of music in casino resorts today, you have to keep in mind how the casino industry itself has changed. When Sinatra started playing those lounge gigs, it was to give the blackjack and roulette players a little extra on top of their overall experience. Today, that is more important than ever. If someone wants to play a casino game, they don’t have to go to a casino – they just call up their Mr Green Casino app on their smartphone and get on with it.

Whether it’s Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas or Gentings in Sheffield, casinos have to focus on the one thing they can do that the online competition can’t – that’s to provide a physical experience that assails all the senses. And a vital part of that is to have the right music.

What about music in the casino itself?

So millions visit Vegas for an amazing experience and to hear great music. That’s good news for the visitors, but could be tantamount to the casino owners shooting themselves in the foot unless these people also visit the casinos themselves. On the face of it, that’s not a big problem – even if you are not a keen gambler, you will at least take a look in one of the casinos once you are in Vegas. The challenge for the owners is to keep you there, and again, music provides a useful tool.

You won’t hear Elvis blaring out 24/7 on the casino floor, but it also won’t be silence. The CEO of the Palms, Todd Greenberg, says he personally chooses an ever-changing playlist for his casino floor. The idea is to avoid repetition. Hear the same song time and again, and two things happen. The first is you start to get irritated, and the second is that it occurs to you that you must have been in there a long time.

Neither of these thoughts are good for business, and this is why so much thought goes into the music you will hear in any casino.