Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 1127–1141 | Cite as

The Utilisation of Music by Casino Managers: An Interview Study

  • Stephanie BramleyEmail author
  • Nicola Dibben
  • Richard Rowe
Original Paper


Music is ubiquitous in retail and commercial environments, with some managers believing that music can enhance the customer experience, increase footfall and sales and improve consumer satisfaction. Casino gambling is popular in the United Kingdom and anecdotal evidence suggests that music is often present. However, little is known about the rationale for music use from the perspective of casino managers. In this study semi-structured interviews were conducted with five casino managers to establish their motivations for utilising music, the factors informing their choice of music and the extent to which music is used with the intention of influencing gambling behaviour. Results showed that casino managers utilised two types of music—recorded background music, often sourced via external music supply companies and live music. Live music was often situated away from the gaming floor and used primarily to accompany participation in non-gambling activities. Recorded background music was not used with the direct aim of influencing customers’ gambling behaviour, but to create the right atmosphere for gambling and to promote certain moods within the casinos. To achieve these aims casino managers manipulated the tempo, volume and genre of the recorded background music. Casino managers also reported that some gamblers listen to music via portable music players, possibly with the intention of customising their gambling experience. This study is unique as it has provided a first-hand account of casino managers’ implicit theories with regards to why they utilise music and the roles which music is considered to fulfil in casinos.


Background music Casino managers Gambling Function of music Qualitative Interviews 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Standard

Ethical approval for this project was given by The University of Sheffield. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


  1. Areni, C. S. (2003). Exploring managers’ implicit theories of atmospheric music: Comparing academic analysis to industry insight. Journal of Services Marketing, 17(2), 161–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berlyne, D. E. (1971). Aesthetics and psychobiology. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  3. Bitner, M. J. (1992). Servicescapes: The impact of physical surroundings on customers and employees. The Journal of Marketing, 56(2), 57–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bramley, S., Dibben, N., & Rowe, R. (2016). Investigating the influence of music tempo on arousal and behaviour in laboratory virtual roulette. Psychology of Music. doi: 10.1177/0305735616632897.Google Scholar
  5. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bull, M. (2005). No dead air! The iPod and the culture of mobile listening. Leisure Studies, 24(4), 343–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bull, M. (2006). Investigating the culture of mobile listening: From Walkman to iPod. In K. O’Hara & B. Brown (Eds.), Consuming music together: Social and collaborative aspects of music consumption technologies (pp. 131–149). London: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Business Pundit. (2011). 10 most sinister ways casinos keep you gambling. Retrieved March 15, 2013, from
  9. Committee of Advertising Practice. (2014). Gambling. Retrieved June 23, 2014, from
  10. Cross, I., & Woodruff, G. E. (2009). Music as a communicative medium. In R. Botha & C. Knight (Eds.), The prehistory of language (pp. 77–98). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gambling Commission. (2011). Industry Statistics 2009/10: Update covering 1 October 2009 to 30 September 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from
  12. Gambling Commission. (2015a). Industry Statistics: April 2010September 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2015, from
  13. Gambling Commission. (2015b). Gaming machines on casino premises. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from
  14. Griffiths, M., & Parke, J. (2003). The environmental psychology of gambling. In G. Reith (Ed.), Gambling: Who wins? Who loses? (pp. 277–292). New York: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  15. Griffiths, M. & Parke, J. (2005). The psychology of music in gambling environments: An observational research note. Journal of Gambling Issue, 13. doi: 10.4309/jgi.2005.13.8.
  16. Husain, F., Wardle, H., Kenny, T., Balarajan, M. & Collins, D. (2013). Exploring machine player behaviour: A qualitative exploration. Retrieved September 22, 2015, from
  17. Johnson, L., Mayer, K. J., & Champaner, E. (2004). Casino atmospherics from a customer’s perspective: A re-examination. UNLV Gaming Research & Review Journal, 8(2), 1–10.Google Scholar
  18. Kassabian, A. (2004). Would you like some world music with your latte? Starbucks, Putumayo and distributed tourism. Twentieth Century Music, 2(1), 209–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kotler, P. (1973). Atmospherics as a marketing tool. Journal of Retailing, 49(4), 48–64.Google Scholar
  20. Marmurek, H. H. C., Finlay, K., Kanetkar, V., & Londerville, J. (2007). The influence of music on estimates of at-risk gambling intentions: An analysis by casino design. International Gambling Studies, 7(1), 113–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mayer, K., & Johnson, L. (2003). A customer-based assessment of casino atmospherics. Gaming Research and Review Journal, 7(1), 21–31.Google Scholar
  22. Mayer, K., Johnson, L., Hu, C., & Chen, S. (1998). Gaming customer satisfaction: An exploratory study. Journal of Travel Research, 37(2), 178–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Orford, J. (2011). An Unsafe Bet? The dangerous rise of gambling and the debate we should be having. West Sussex: Wiley.Google Scholar
  24. Parke, J., Parke, A. J., Rigbye, J., Suhonen, N., & Vaughan Williams, L. (2012). The eCOGRA global online gambler report. In R. J. Williams, R. T. Wood, & J. Parke (Eds.), Routledge international handbook of internet gambling (pp. 140–160). Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Rockloff, M. J., & Greer, N. (2010). Never smile at a crocodile: Betting on electronic gaming machines is intensified by reptile-induced arousal. Journal of Gambling Studies, 26(4), 571–581.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Rockloff, M. J., Signal, T., & Dyer, V. (2007). Full of sound and fury, signifying something: The impact of autonomic arousal on EGM gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 23(4), 457–465.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Schüll, N. D. (2012). Addiction by design. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Sterne, J. (1997). Sounds like the Mall of America: Programmed music and the architectonics of commercial space. Ethnomusicology, 41(1), 22–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephanie Bramley
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicola Dibben
    • 1
  • Richard Rowe
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MusicThe University of SheffieldSheffieldEngland, UK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe University of SheffieldSheffieldEngland, UK

Personalised recommendations