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What's That Smell?

I just read about how casinos try to develop their own smells, and how customers are influenced by fragrances.

What’s That Smell?

I just read about how casinos try to develop their own smells, and how customers are influenced by fragrances. It’s one of the more ingenious ways they get into the heads of us gamblers and toy with our little brains.

I’m just kidding. (Our brains aren’t really that little. Compared to, say, a schnauzer.)

The article referred to the smells that casinos have pumped into their gaming floors for decades, and included an interview with Mark Peltier. Peltier is president of AromaSys, one of the pioneering firms in what the old-timers call “smelling the joint up.”

Peltier related how the art and use of smell in casino environments has changed since AromaSys placed one of the earliest such systems at the Mirage in 1991. Since then, casinos have had distinct smells pumped through the ventilators.

In the past, I had always thought the fragrances pumped through the ventilation systems were solely to induce a sense of well-being-a relaxed mode in which, even if you lose your money, everything’s just swell. Apparently, ventilation also gives each casino its own distinct aroma, something pleasant that will evoke sweet memories, like the smell of frying garlic and olive oil make you remember your grandmother. (Or at least my grandmother.)

According to the article, by Brendan Buhler of the Las Vegas Sun, “The Mirage smells Polynesian, Mandalay Bay smells Southeast Asian and the Bellagio has the scent of Northern Italy.” The aroma at the Venetian in Las Vegas is actually produced by AromaSys. It’s called “Seduction.”

If I ever open a casino, I’m going to ask AromaSys for a classic scent: “Stale Pall Mall.” It will give customers that old-timey casino feeling.

Peltier concedes that the Venetian probably has the volume jacked up a bit too high on the “Seduction” scent at the Venetian, although not as high as claimed by Buhler, the Sun reporter, who likened the scent to “an old man who has been wearing the same cologne for 40 years and steadily adding more.”

Speaking of stink, how about those Steelers?

Sorry, I just ran out of riffs on the smell thing and I needed a segue. I have nothing to write about the Steelers. Not until September, at least.

Next on our agenda of mirth is a security guard story, since this is the month of our big special section of action-packed security and surveillance stories. (“Back off, dirtbag, or deal with my 360-degree megapixel HD IP camera… It’s a PTZ at 1.9 frames per second, punk!”)

This security story, which I just got off the Associated Press wire (that’s right, wise-guy, I have an old-timey news ticker right here), has nothing to do with cameras or pixels or panning and tilting. It’s about a security guard from California’s Thunder Valley Casino who survived after his car went into a creek by shooting the windows out of the submerged vehicle and swimming through eight feet of chilly waters to safety.

First of all, congratulations to the guy for escaping-it sounds like a scene from a movie, and he’s really brave. Just one thing bothers me: It says here that the security guard was driving home uneventfully from his casino shift when he was “startled by his hands-free cell phone device,” thereby causing his car to plunge off the road and into the water.

Is it me, or is he just a little bit high-strung to be a casino security guard armed with a loaded pistol? His phone makes a sound and he goes berserk and loses control of the car?



Did the phone make a moose-call sound or something? A vicious dog bark? The 1812 Overture? Like I said, I do admire the guy for focus and instincts and courage, really, in the face of death. And I’m glad he’s alright. But I do believe the man should look into a new ringtone. Maybe a nice bird call or something. I wouldn’t want to see him gun down a slot machine after jackpot noises.

I know I may be overreacting, but the next time I go into to the Thunder Valley Casino, I’m putting my cell phone on “Silent.”

In other security news, a man was thrown out of a nightclub at Foxwoods and later detained by tribal police after spitting on a security guard and urinating on a soda machine. Or was it the other way around? Anyway, the guy was apparently under the influence of the fragrance that is pumped into Foxwoods. It’s called “Drunken Idiot.”

Hey, I think I’ve smelled that before.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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