Sports betting continues to spread across the United States, 26 states plus DC now with legal sportsbooks operational. But the gambling activity last week embarked to its largest jurisdiction yet — international waters.
A passenger onboard a Princess Cruises ship checks out the company’s new mobile Ocean Sportsbook. Princess, owned by Carnival, is the first major cruise line to launch sports betting. (Image: Princess Cruises)Legal sports betting was limited to Nevada prior to the US Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling that struck out the federal ban. The landmark verdict gave states the right to dictate their own laws on sports betting.
Sports betting is now seemingly everywhere, television commercials during pro and college sports flooded with spots from DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars Sportsbook, and BetMGM.
And as sports betting continues to gain new market access — and lure in more and more sports bettors — the world’s largest cruise line is making sure the action doesn’t stop once players board their ships.
Carnival Cruise Line announced in February that it planned to incorporate sports betting to its onboard casinos once sailing resumed in wake of COVID-19. That officially began last week, as the first bet was wagered onboard the Majestic Princess.
Keeping Amenities Current
Carnival subsidiary Princess Cruises is the first cruise line to offer passengers sports betting upon entry into international waters. Princess is operating its sports gambling odds and lines through its Ocean Sportsbook.
The Ocean Sportsbook interactive platform was developed by UK-based Miomni Gaming. Sportradar provides the book with its odds through a satellite feed that reaches the ships sailing the high seas.
Being that sports betting is everywhere, it only makes sense to give those folks that may enjoy gambling, but don’t really enjoy sitting in the casino a chance to win big, even at sea,” John Maddox, owner and operator of Travel by John, a cruise booking service, told TravelPulse.
Most Princess ships come with a Las Vegas-style casino that offers slot machines, table games, bingo, and now sports betting. Passengers can also gamble for real money onboard on their mobile phones with the MedallionClass app.
The majority of travel experts told TravelPulse that incorporating sports betting into the cruising experience is a no-brainer.
“Adding any additional forms of entertainment for cruise passengers to enjoy is a plus for the industry,” Cruise Vacations International’s Jeremy Hall opined. “I don’t see sports betting having any negative effect on passengers as it seems the wagers are placed either in the casino or on the app. Gambling and watching sports onboard are both staples for many cruise passengers so kudos for those who found a way to blend both together.”
Cruise Casino Regulations
Carnival Cruise Line and its Princess Cruises are both members of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). As components of the world’s largest cruise industry trade group, Carnival and Princess are required to regulate their ship casinos under the same regulatory standards the Nevada Gaming Control Board imposes on its land-based casinos.
CLIA inspects each member’s casinos annually to assure that the games are fair, and regulatory conditions are being followed.
However, when a patron has a dispute, gamblers have few resources other than the on-ship casino manager. There is no outside governing authority that a customer can file a complaint.
The CLIA stresses that “gambling is strictly for the enjoyment of the passengers who choose to avail themselves of this form of entertainment.”
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