All those flashing lights and carnival-like sounds inside casinos may inhibit sound decision-making, a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia finds.

The study suggests that sensory features that capture our attention in a casino might directly affect a player’s thought process and encourage one to make riskier choices, potentially promoting problem gambling.

“We found that an individual’s choices were less guided by the odds of winning when the casino-like audiovisual features were present in our laboratory gambling game,” says lead author Mariya Cherkasova, a postdoctoral research fellow at the university, in a release. “Overall, people took more risks when playing the more casino-like games, regardless of the odds.”

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