Cruise Ship Casinos: Gambling on the High Seas

These days cruise ships come equipped with just about anything you could possibly need to keep yourself entertained for a few days. For some of us, this means a list of amenities far too long to get into, but for others the mere mention of an on-board casino is all it takes to cement the deal and book the trip. But what about these floating gambling havens? Are they really all they`re cracked up to be? The Eleventy Traveler Blog decided to take a closer look and share about the industry.

The term “International Waters” has long been music to the ears of many an entrepreneur. At its crudest interpretation, it translates as “no rules”! So with such a tightly regulated industry as gambling, is it any wonder that the ungoverned sea, which constitutes three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, is home to some of the most profitable and exclusive casinos?

Most people are aware of the staggering profits that casinos can generate. Are the cruise lines enjoying the same type of returns? One cruise line representative, who will go unnamed, claims that revenue from on-board gaming makes up only about five percent of the total net revenue of the company. It is in fact no more profitable than the bar or shopping centre. But some people may find that hard to swallow.

The comment is indeed surprising when you consider both the profile of the typical cruise ship gambler and the environment in which the customer finds him or herself. The most basic laws of business would suggest to me that cruise ship casinos must be a virtual gold-mine for the company. Consider the typical patron: relatively wealthy (you`re looking at least $100 per day just for the spot on the boat), bored, and captive! Granted, you are not forced to spend your time the casino, and all cruise ships come with a variety of things to do to pass the time (porpoise-spotting comes to mind), but anyone with even a very minor gambling streak, which is almost everyone, knows where the majority of time will be spent.

Which brings us to the actual casinos themselves, and once again I bring up the term “international waters”. In most casinos in the world there is a list of regulations aimed at protecting the customer from not only himself, but disreputable gambling operators. These authoritative bodies are in place to oversee the industry and make sure that nobody exploits the pants off anyone. But on the High Seas, the ancient and original home of skullduggery, what’s to stop anyone from pulling a fast one?

Accordingly, you might be wondering if there are any sort of guidelines in place. Well . . . kind of. The cruise lines adhere to something called the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL). The policy statement of the ICCL reads as follows: The International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) is dedicated to assisting our members in providing a safe, secure, and entertaining ship environment for its cruise ship passengers. Among the services that illustrate that commitment is the gambling casinos found on most of the ICCL member vessels…