Faces and Places

Risk Taking Aroma


smell sexy The human body is a marvellous creation, it’s always mind boggling how intricately the mind, body and all the sensory and neurological systems are connected. Take for example one’s sense of smell. How often have you entered a place and inhaled a familiar scent only to be rushed by a slew of emotions and memories that your mind associates to that specific smell?

It can be a wonderful experience with the right scent, and the wrong scent can send you running for the hills.

Casinos have known this for years. In fact, as the South China Morning Post reported, casinos in Macau are already experimenting with scents to encourage gamblers to stay longer.

It’s not a secret. Many people are aware that the top casinos already use their signature scents in the ventilation systems to augment ambience, but the Chinese casinos are looking to the future where a more focused use of scent can be used to enhance risk-taking behaviour in gamblers.

I have a really hard time believing that there is a scent that could make me take more risks while gambling. Of course, there are those who are predisposed to risk taking, those with damaged sections of their amygdala, the almond size center in your brain which controls many acute emotions, including fear.

I’ve smelled many scents at Vegas casinos and hotels, like the incense they burn at the Venetian that makes you think it’s Easter Sunday in a Catholic church. But I’ve never smelled anything that made me want to take a risk. Well, except for when that Vegas working girl passed by wearing Channel No. 5. That stuff gets me sometimes, every-time.

I think everyone has a scent of sex that they are sensitive to, both men and women. How many of you have ever been hit on by a lady just because of the cologne you had on? Naturally you’d go and buy a lifetime supply of the stuff the next day right? I have heard un-confirmed reports of some women and men being turned on by the smell of a new car, typically ones over six figures.

Some scents are just natural aphrodisiacs.

According to a CNN report, Dr. Alan Hirsch, Neurological Director of the US-based Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, conducted the world’s first experiments with smells in a casino at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1994. Hirsch says in the report that the smell of vanilla may be popular in the United States but won’t work for China, since scent-preference is culturally-specific.

Hirsch suggested that scents should “remind people of their childhood or induce a feeling of safety and security that would be more appropriate for Macau than Las Vegas.” Hirsch suggested for casinos in Macau and the mainland that the scents of jasmine tea and cooked rice would do the trick.

It’s an interesting notion, it would certainly draw an older crowd to the casinos on scent induced nostalgia alone.

But wouldn’t it make people spend more time at the buffet table instead of the gambling tables?

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