How Dating Apps Succeeded Using Ideas from Online Casinos

How Dating Apps Succeeded Using Ideas from Online Casinos

Dating apps have been one of the biggest trends in the world of technology in recent years.

Online dating has gone from something people were a little embarrassed about to a pastime which is now considered totally normal in most parts of the world.

These apps stole many ideas for online casinos

With so many different dating apps to choose from, there is something out there for everyone who is looking to make a romantic connection.

But did you know that one of the ways dating apps succeeded was by taking inspiration and stealing ideas from online casinos?

Here is how they did it – food for thought for anyone thinking of opening Tinder or Bumble.

Dating apps release am addictive dopamine hit

According to an article by, a lot of mobile apps, such as those with casino games, are built to trigger a dopamine hit to the brains of their users – with dating apps no different.

Receiving a match releases a hit of dopamine in the same way that a win on online slots would. And the makers of online dating apps play up to this. They will use push notifications to encourage users to open the app as often as possible.

Addiction expert Dr Adi Jaffe told that the effect of dopamine on the brain is reinforcement – leading towards people becoming addicted to that rush of emotion.

Dr Jaffe pointed out that the almost endless choice of potential partners available on dating apps is completely different from how people would naturally meet in the offline world. He compared the relentless swiping many dating users embark on to playing at a casino.

C J Everhart, a mental health counsellor, also told the site that dating apps rely on their users developing a “need” or a “compulsion” to use them in order to try and find their next partner. This naturally is a reminder of gambling, which can sometimes lead people to becoming addicted.

How dating apps and casino games are like sport

According to psychiatry expert Dr. David Greenfield, dating apps are designed so they almost feel as though they are a game of sport. Dr Greenfield, who works at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine as the facility’s assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, told Bustle that “primitive structures” are used in dating apps.

The expert, also the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction‘s founder, compared dating apps directly to slot machines that would normally be found at an online casino.

Anticipating a romantic connection increases dopamine in the brain and then there is a secondary hit of the chemical whenever someone shows interest. Dr Greenfield feels this is why people keep coming back for more on dating apps, even if they are receiving few matches.

It is possible to get stuck in a dopamine loop when using dating apps a lot. People will cycle through their potential matches with increasing speed as they chase down that dopamine hit.

Shena Tubbs, a specialist in love addiction, told she believes many dating app users are focused on amassing “as many likes and matches as possible”. This is just like a player at an online casino might keep spinning the reels in the hunt of that next big win.

Swiping on dating apps is a gamble

Every single swipe on a dating app is a mini gamble. In this sense, a swipe can be compared to a spin of the reels on an online casino. Anyone opening a dating app like Tinder will be hoping to receive a match, which is a bit like hitting the jackpot on a slot game.

But for every left-swipe, users are risking missing out on a potential match – and a possible relationship as a result. And every right-swipe that does not result in a match is likely to feel like a tiny stab of rejection. 

Dating apps also use similar design techniques as online casinos in order to encourage people to keep swiping – or playing the game. When a user receives a match, they will be rewarded with sounds and animations in the same way as they are when they win money on the online slots. Visit this page if you want to see examples of free slots and to get an idea of how they and dating apps use sounds in a similar way to invoke the sense of reward. There is no doubt that sounds in apps like Tinder play a massive part in triggering a dopamine hit, much like slots.

When swiping on a dating app, there is always a chance the next person who appears on the screen could become ‘the one’. When this happens it is like hitting the jackpot on a slot game. Even those who do not get a lot of attention on apps like Tinder will eventually get a match. This plays into the same theory as when users play online slots and feel like a win is coming soon.

Previous studies have shown that rewards that are unpredictable – like winning at the online casino – are more appealing to the human brain. Again, dating apps work in the same way. When a user swipes right they have no indication whether or not it will result in a match.

Using dating apps can become a compulsion for many – just as some people might get addicted to online slots – but it is all by design. Remember that the next time you start swiping!


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