Gambling on the High Seas – Fun Facts About Cruise Ship Casinos

About Cruise Ship Casinos

Gambling is one of the long list of ways cruise ships entertain guests. Nearly all major cruise lines offer casinos on board some of their ships, including Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Group, MSC Cruises, Viking Cruises, and Dream Cruises. The only major exception is Disney since it is a kid-friendly brand. Casinos on cruise ships were first popularized in the 1920s and ’30s by the Mafia, who exploited a legal loophole to offer gambling on boats and ships. Let’s see about fun facts about cruise ship casinos.

The shops anchored beyond the territorial waters bordering New York, California, and other coastal states. The gambling niche has evolved a lot in the past century to entertain players effectively. Here are nifty facts you should know before embarking on your cruise:


The availability of Online Cricket Betting ID on cruise ships depends on the one you choose. Most ships, even the smaller ones like Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, have an onboard gambling den. Disney is the only mass-market big player that does not include one in any of its four cruise ships. Also, a lot of riverboats and expedition ships lack casinos. These transport modes are usually small and used to get close up to the scenery, wildlife, or land, beating the necessity of a cruise casino.

Cruise casinos may not have the floor space of land-based casinos, let alone the online versions, but they still offer a diverse range of games to try out. Slots dominate most of the floors with sometimes as many as 400 options. Blackjack, poker, roulette, and craps are also popular.

The United Kingdom has looser laws that allow cruise ships journeying into or from international waters to gamble freely. However, on land, a UK Gambling Commission license is required to offer the services. In dozens of other countries, gambling is banned for visitors and natives, but cruise casinos can open their doors once they are 12 or more nocturnal miles away from their sealine. These nations include;

  • Iran
  • Afghanistan
  • Belarus
  • China
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Somalia
  • Taiwan
  • Norway
  • Ukraine


In nearly all ways, cruise casinos are similar to the brick-and-mortar versions, just on a smaller scale. On most liners, the gambling clubs are placed in the ship’s central, typically the most trafficked areas. They are sometimes placed in hallways, meaning people cut through them to get from one end of the vessel to the other. This placement makes sense to ensure easy accessibility to gamblers despite their location.

Inside, each cruise ship casino has a unique personality, but they all have the familiar ringing bells and flashing lights found in location-based dens. Gambling clubs are often placed in closed-in areas with little to no natural lighting and relatively low ceilings, with the decks above and below limiting the height. This design and a maze-like game layout give them a cozy feel, and they are some of the most oversized rooms on cruise ships.

Available Games

Cruise casinos may not have the floor space of land-based casinos, let alone the online versions, but they still offer a diverse range of games to try out. Slots dominate most of the floors with sometimes as many as 400 options. Blackjack, poker, roulette, and craps are also popular. 

In some liners, dealer-dealt tables replace those played against other gamblers, including Caribbean Stud, Three-Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold ’em. Cruise liners like Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line also have electronic poker and roulette pro tables. Ships also have surprising additions that are not found in land-based casinos, like Skill Crane and coin pusher machines.

Betting and the Limits

Most cruises allow guests to use their cruise card or cash to gamble for real money. Cash can be changed to chips, or their price can be charged to the cruise card at the tables. Most pokies accept the cruise card, but some also accept cash. Cruise ships that accept cash only are rare, but they do exist like Silversea and Windstar.

 Ships usually have ATMs where you can withdraw if only cash is accepted. However, the charges are generally high. If you are unsure of how bets are taken, take some bills and coins with you.

Cruise casino games have standard betting limits that start as low as a penny and go up to several hundred dollars. However, only a handful of cruise ships provide high-stakes gambling. In some vessels, like those from Royal Caribbean, high-stakes games are organized only if enough high rollers are available. 


Winning odds are always in the house’s favor, which is especially true for cruise casino games. The winning and payout odds on cruises are worse than land-based and online options. 

For instance, video poker’s gold standard is a 9/6 machine that pays six credits for a flush and nine for a full house. Hence, the theoretical return rate is 99.5%. However, cruise ships mostly feature 6/5 machines, dropping the RTP to 94.9%. The same case applies to blackjack. Most tables pay 6:5 for a natural Blackjack instead of the usual 3:2. The odds drop to normal when playing high-limit tablets, but some casinos offer them on regular tables as well.

Age Limit

Most cruise ships have a minimum age limit of eighteen and alter it according to the territories they sail through. For instance, MSC raises the limit to 21 in the Caribbean, while Azamara, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity raise it to 21 on Alaska sailings. 

Seabourn Cruises, Princess Cruises, and Windstar are among the few lines that set the minimum age limit at 21. Most liners have their casinos along main thoroughfares, so it is not surprising to see kids walking through. Even so, they are not supposed to linger.


Whether casino winnings are charged or not depends on the laws of the country the cruise ship is registered to. Countries like the United Kingdom do not tax gambling winners, so punters keep every penny they win. 

Also, casino operators consider whether the wins are worthy of reporting. Payouts in the thousands are often reported, and winners can pay the taxes on their haul.

Parting Shot

Each cruise ship has unique regulations that visitors must abide by when gambling. The rules can be around the gameplay, dress code, or other elements. Check the cruise ship guide or talk to the casino manager to see which ones apply.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here