Types of Musical Soundtrack Can Affect Gambling Behaviour
The power of music to affect our mood, behaviour and perceptions has been extensively researched over the years and the links have been proven in various studies. As such, music is carefully selected in many situations to influence our reactions. The type of soundtrack you hear when you are in retail environments for instance is designed to impact the time you spend perusing and ultimately to influence your purchases. It can be used to change your perception of how long you have to wait in a queue. Casinos likewise use music as a psychological tool. It can create a certain atmosphere or ambiance, be that up tempo, exhilarating and exciting, or more mellow, encouraging visitors to relax and play longer. Whilst the general impact of music on behaviour has been researched, there has been specific research into the impact of music on gambling behaviour, with interesting results.
High Tempo Music Leads to Faster Betting
In 2007, Dixon, Trigg and Griffiths published the results of an empirical investigation of music and gambling. They investigated the impact of no music, slow tempo music and fast music on 60 participants playing roulette.
Their study indicated that musical tempo influenced the speed of betting, with faster betting occurring whilst listening to high-tempo music. They observed no link between music and the overall amount of money bet or the bet size. As such, this provided an interesting insight into how background music could be used to increase the speed of betting.
Both High and Low Tempo Music Can Lead to Riskier Gambling Behaviour
In a later study funded by the Norwegian Research Council, 5 experts performed a more thorough investigation of the influence of music on gambling propensity. The study tracked 101 participants as they played the card game SuperJack. Half of the players listened to slow-paced jazz, whilst the other half listened to fast-paced pop music. The results showed that whilst fast-tempo music led to a faster pace of betting, slow-tempo music also had an influence on gambling. With slower music, more bets were placed, displaying prolonged gambling behaviour.
Songs Inspired by Gambling
Gambling is a favourite theme amongst singers and songwriters, and there is no shortage of tunes that are inspired by the activity. In some songs, it is gambling at its base that provides the theme. For others, gambling is used as a metaphor for love, life and everything in between. The following is by no means an exhaustive listing of gambling songs, yet it comprises some of the standout tracks that have made their mark throughout the years.
The Gambler – Kenny Rogers
This classic country song, written by Don Schlitz is perhaps the ultimate gambling song. It tells of an encounter between the singer and a gambler on a train journey. The gambler imparts his wisdom on poker, with tips on how to play the game right. Yet the advice can be seen as a philosophy on how to live life. The thought provoking lyrics and the catchy tune have made this an iconic gambling song, that is as relevant today as it was upon its release in 1978.
Poker Face – Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga hit the music scene with a bang in 2008. Her synth-pop hit Poker Face became the best-selling single of 2009 worldwide and is one of the biggest selling singles of all time. Written by Gaga and producer RedOne, the single appeared on her debut album The Fame. The lyrics contain numerous poker references which are used as metaphors to describe love and sex. During a tour performance at the Palm Springs, Gaga revealed to the audience that the song was about her personal experience with bisexuality.
Ace of Spades – Motörhead
Released in 1980, this heavy metal classic is arguably the signature song of the band founded by Lemmy Kilmister. The song was the title track of the 1980 album Ace of Spades. The song opens with an epic bass intro and it is full of gambling metaphors, centring on poker. One of the standout gambling references featured in the song is the Dead Man’s Hand, which was wild Bill Hickok’s hand when he was shot dead. Ace of spades is considered to be one of the best gambling songs of all time.
Viva Las Vegas – Elvis Presley
If there is one artist that is synonymous with Las Vegas, it is Elvis Presley. And if there is one song that epitomises Sin City, it has to be his legendary tune, Viva Las Vegas. The unofficial anthem to Vegas mentions all the popular casino games; blackjack, roulette, poker, one-arm bandits and dice, as well as referring to the glitz and glamour of the city. Written for the 1964 movie of the same name, the up-beat tune has been used in many movies and TV shows, and there have been countless cover versions since its release.
Tumbling Dice – The Rolling Stones
The story behind the creation of this song is probably as famous as the tune itself. Having moved to France in the 70s to avoid UK income taxation, the group wrote most of their album, Exile on Main St. from the basement of Keith Richard’s chateau, Villa Nellcôte. Richards explained the song was in part inspired by the gambling den that the chateau turned into. Whilst Mick Jagger went on to explain that he learnt about the rules of craps from the housekeeper, which in turn inspired the lyrics of the song.
The Card Cheat – The Clash
The Card Cheat appeared on the critically acclaimed third studio album, London Calling, from punk rock band The Clash. The album incorporated a wide range of musical styles, including not only punk, but also hard rock, pop, ska, lounge jazz and reggae. The band recorded each part of The Card Cheat twice, to create a Phil Spector-like wall of sound. Whilst the piano melody is catchy and up-beat, the lyrics are rather dark, with plenty of references to gambling, telling the story of a card cheat who gets his comeuppance.
Good Run of Bad Luck – Clint Black
This county music song, written by Black and Hayden Nicholas is laden with gambling references, particularly relating to craps. The song describes falling in love by using gambling metaphors and clichés. Released in February 1994, this was the fourth single from the album No Time to Kill. It also appeared on the soundtrack to the western comedy movie Maverick, starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster. You can see plenty of clips from the film in the official music video.
Casino Games Inspired by Music
There is no denying that there are many songs about gambling. Yet whilst gambling is the inspiration behind many songs, the process also works the other way around, with a whole range of great casinos games that are inspired by music. You will find an interesting selection of music-themed slots. They can range from nursery rhymes to games based on certain genres of music, like dance and swing. Yet the most impressive games that truly stand out are branded games based on singers and bands. Such games have an obvious appeal to fans, often including hit songs from the artists and special bonus features which are intrinsically linked with the artist. Below, you will find a selection of musically inspired online slots.
Guns N’Roses – Based on the legendary hard rock band, the Guns N’Roses video slot features the band members as the highest valued symbols. Special features include the Crowd-Pleaser bonus game, Encore & Legend free spins, Solo multipliers and Appetite for Destruction Wilds. It also includes a set list featuring 5 of the band’s best songs, with hits such as Paradise City and Sweet Child O’ Mine. This epic NetEnt slot won the EGR award for Game of the Year 2016.
Motörhead – The intro video to this NetEnt slot features the epic rock band playing their gambling inspired hit, Ace of Spades. Activate rock mode and you’ll hear the group belting out their hits as you spin, including Iron Fist, Overkill and Killed by Death. In another nod to their iconic hit, the ace of spades provides the wild symbol. The slot boasts 76 paylines and 3 bonus features, including Mystery Reels, the Bomber feature and free spins.
Jimi Hendrix – This video slot is dedicated to the legendary American rock guitarist, singer and song writer, Jimi Hendrix. With a psychedelic meets flower power style, it brings an authentic edge to Jimi’s era. The main game includes The Purple Haze feature, that transforms symbols into wilds and the Red Guitar Re-Spin feature. The slot also includes a pick and click game, with 4 different prizes up for grabs.
Michael Jackson King of Pop – The King of Pop is immortalised in this video slot from Bally. You’ll hear a string of Jackson’s timeless hits as you spin the reels, including Billie Jean, Bad, and Dirty Diana. The slot includes Stacked Wilds and Moonwalk Wilds, which double payouts. Other highlights include the Wheel bonus, Beat It free games with sticky wilds and Smooth Criminal free spins with stacked wild reels.
Kiss – This Williams slot, powered by SG Interactive is dedicated to the face-painted rock band. Join Gene Simmons and co as they appear stacked on the reels of this unconventional slot. With both a main 5 x 4 reel set and a colossal 5 x 12 reel set, there are 100 paylines in the game. The Kiss feature awards up to 20 free spins plus up to a 20x total bet multiplier. A selection of the band’s hits play as you spin.
Elvis: The King Lives – Williams Interactive bring you this entertaining video slot, dedicated to the one and only Elvis Presley. The king provides the stacked wild symbol in the game. The key highlight of the slot is the free spins feature. Before the free spins commence, you hit the jukebox. If you land one of Elvis’s classic songs, either Hound Dog, Teddy Bear, Blue Suede Shoes or Big Hunk O’Love, you’ll be rewarded with extra spins and up to 25x your total bet.
DJ Wild – This video slot from Elk Studios is inspired by dance music and the high life of being a world-class DJ. The intro video shows the sun setting over Miami as you head to the arena to spin the decks for an eagerly awaiting crowd. Uplifting music pumps out as you spin the reels on the 5 x 3 slot, which is packed full of DJ equipment and bejewelled fruits. The game features expanding wild re-spins, both way wins and the DJ Wild Jackpot.
Rhyming Reels Georgie Porgie – Based on the classic nursery rhyme, Georgie Porgie, this Microgaming slot includes a variety of cartoon-like symbols that capture the essence of the children’s song. It has a typical setup with 5 reels and 15 paylines. The game features a free spins bonus, as well as wild multipliers, which reach up to x25 in the bonus round. Other musically themed slots within the Rhyming Reels collection include Old King Cole and Jack and Jill.
Karaoke Party – As the name suggests, this musically themed Microgaming slot takes its inspiration from karaoke. The slot has a selectable 9 paylines. The symbols include a mix of people belting out their favourite tunes, lapping up their moment in the spotlight. The fun-filled slot includes a multiplier wild, which doubles wins. There is also a free spins round, which rewards you with 15 free plays where all wins are tripled.