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Jason

An Introduction to Gambling on Cruise Ships

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Gambling is a popular activity aboard cruise ships and it's a significant money maker for the cruise lines. The types of casino games offered onboard may vary, however you can be certain the most well known and popular ones are available - Blackjack, roulette, poker, and of course a ton of slot machines. If you're a hardcore gambler and are seeking a specific type of casino game, you may want to check directly with the cruise line, prior to booking your cruise.

If you're planning on gambling a good amount on your next cruise, perhaps some pre-cruise practice with an online gaming destination such as partybingo.com will be helpful. Party Bingo offers a variety of online casino games including roulette, blackjack, and more.

Upon boarding the ship, you'll notice the casino is closed. That's because gambling is illegal in most of the United States. However, different rules apply in International waters, and you'll notice that after the ship departs from land and is several miles away from the coast, the casino will open. Let the games begin!

In just about all cases, the onboard casino will also be closed while the ship is docked at any port of call. This is to abide by local regulations which if you think about it, makes sense. After all, cruise ship casinos remaining open while at port would result in less passengers debarking the ship to explore the local destination which may include their own gambling attractions.

Gambling within the onboard casino is similar to gambling on land. Traditional casino rules apply such as minimum age limits and the prohibition of photography. If the rules for specific games differ from on land, there will likely be visible signs or rules posted. If you're in doubt, ask a casino employee. There are also pamphlets available around the casino which explain the rules for all games offered.

Looking to learn a new game while onboard? Not to worry, most ships offer educational courses which teach you how to play a particular game. Looking to participate in a competition? Chances are your cruise already has this covered as part of the calendar of activities. These are always fun to watch.

Whether you're looking to learn a new game or brush up on your skills before your next cruise, there are a variety of internet source which can assist. Wikipedia is one of many great resources where you can learn all you want about casino gaming.

Do you gamble onboard? Have you ever won BIG? Any onboard casino stories? Add your comments below!


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We do play slots on board, and while my husband likes to say he frequently wins due to his sunny disposition and how the machine senses this (what a crock-LOL!), I have nothing but rotten luck, both on land and at sea. I was relieved when the casino was closed nearly the entire time on our recent cruise 'round the British Isles.

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Back in the day, we would literally RUN to every BINGO event (even miss dessert!). That was when there was a guaranteed jackpot and the game was fun. Now the cost to play BINGO has gone up; most of the time the jackpot is dependent on how much money is brought in to the room; and it's no longer a fun game. There were a couple of times where we won.

Jerry loves to enter the Blackjack Tournaments. There are usually 2 on a 7 night or longer cruise. Most of the time the entry fee is $20 a hand and he'll play a few hands to insure he's in the finals. Jerry does well in these tournaments (I don't want to jinx anything by bragging!) Lots of times we get coupons for up to 2 tournaments (blackjack or slots) and that really comes in handy.

Marcy and I have entered the Slot Tournaments. Mainly for the giggles and for the ability to yell at a machine. That tournament is truly the luck of the spin.

Our favorite game is Caribbean Stud. But the last time we played, the payout was less and it was harder to just break even. More and more poker tables are showing up in the ship's casinos. We have yet to venture over, but might take a crack at them.

We use to stay totally clear of the casinos in the resorts at the various ports that we visited (again, on the "advice" of the ship). Not anymore. We spent the entire day in a casino in Aruba. Had a blast. Didn't lose our shirt and probably walked away with what we started with (or a little more). We're looking forward to the Hotel Atlantis. We've gambled there a number of times. Last time we were there our luck had run out.

When we're totally bored, we'll play Roulette or some slots, but don't spend a lot of time or money with those games. Not sure why. Might have to give the slots a try; especially with the new gaming card that the ships have come out with.

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We lived in Las Vegas for several years (and go back to visit friends there whenever we can) so shipboard casinos are really “cute” to us. Even so, we’ll still spend a few bucks now and then in between other forms of entertainment – it can be really fun! :biggrin:

Amy’s Mom and Dad play in the casino a lot (mostly slots) and usually do quite well!

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