CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Articles in this Series
Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Gambling on Cruise Ships - Part 1

22 January 2002

Beyond riverboat, land based, race track, and Native American casino gambling, beyond Las Vegas and Atlantic City, there exists a casino option that many of us have experienced at one time or another but about which little has been written or explored. This relatively unanalyzed, unexplored gambling world exists on luxury cruise liners and pleasure ships that traverse international waters off the ocean coasts of the United States.

Perhaps you've been there. Almost all of the most well known, heavily marketed vacation cruise companies operate gambling casinos aboard their luxury liners. An on-ship gambling experience of one form or another is commonplace among liners that cruise the Caribbean and other popular vacation destinations.

My first and only experience with ocean liner gambling took place about seven years ago when we booked a one-week family vacation to the U.S. Virgin Islands. I recall the casino could not open until the ship had sailed far enough from homeport in Miami, Florida and into international waters. I also recall there were people standing in front of the mesh curtain that separated them from the slot machines and gaming tables, peering longingly inside and waiting impatiently for the action to begin.

I wound up losing money during the few gambling sessions I participated in during that cruise. I wasn't impressed with the experience at all. My most vivid recollection of the casino was the hostile player rules and restrictions that existed at the craps and blackjack tables.

The casinos are absolute gold mines for the cruise lines. Think for a minute about the people who patronize them: They're on vacation with expendable income and they're geared up for fun and excitement 24/7. What more could a casino want from a captive audience? The cruise line operators do not have to be concerned with creating a climate for return business or brand loyalty. In most cases the vacation is a one-time, once-in-a-while, or at best, a once-a-year fling. There are thousands of new people with fresh money booked on every cruise.

Creating a gaming climate that people will want to come back to is the stock and trade of the riverboat and land-based casino industry. The climate is created by competition among the properties that paves the way for player friendly rules at the tables, liberal player's club programs, slot machines with liberal pay back percentages, and video poker with optimum payoffs.

Cruise line operators have no reason to create such a climate for vacationers, the majority of which are unfamiliar with gambling or knowledgeable about separating good gambling conditions from bad. They aren't interested in cultivating a gambling clientele. All they want is a venue to relieve people of even more of their vacation dollars.

I will continue this discussion next week with some revealing insight into this unregulated industry.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp