The Dilemma of playing Casino Games on Cruise Ships


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One of the most popular ways to take a vacation is by hopping aboard a cruise ship. The ship serves as your tour guide, there are some great stops along the way, and a wide range of activities are at your disposal. One of these activities usually happens to be casino gaming. After all, most people put their guard down and make a few bets while on vacation.

It may seem like playing casino games on cruise ships is harmless fun. However, those who are conscientious of strategy should definitely beware of placing bets at sea. And if you're wondering why, here's a deeper look at the truth behind gambling on cruise chips.

Gaming Piracy on the High Seas

Most casinos in major gambling destinations like Macau and Las Vegas offer fairly competitive payback. After all, these places feature intense competition for players since a large number of casinos are in close proximity. So it goes without saying that you can't rip players off by running games where the payback is extremely low.

Now let's consider cruise ships, where players are isolated on the sea or ocean with just one casino available. Assuming you don't like the blackjack house edge or slots payback, you can't exactly jump in a lifeboat and sail to the next casino.

Due to the lack of competition, most cruise ships offer extremely low payback and unfavorable rules with their casino games. If you were playing blackjack, for example, natural blackjack payouts would probably be 6:5 instead of 3:2. And this one little rule change raises the house edge by about 1.4%.

Don't expect to get any relief on the slot machines either. You're lucky to find slots with payout percentages of 90%. Considering that many Vegas casino slots pay out 92-93%, what cruise ships are offering is quite a bit lower than what you'll find at a normal gaming establishment.

Should you still play on Cruise Ships?

As we've just discussed, you certainly can't expect to find any breaks with cruise ship casino games. Your chances of winning are normally far better at a land-based or online casino. But does this mean that you should totally avoid gambling if you ever go on a cruise?

Certainly not - you just have to be willing to set a loss limit. Going further, don't bring the same bankroll to a cruise ship that you would to a normal casino. Assuming you normally had a loss limit of $200, cut this amount in half to $100. After all, you're dealing with lower payback, so why let yourself bet the same amount of money?

So if gambling on a cruise ship appeals to you, by all means place a few bets. But once again, make sure you limit the amount of money you're willing to risk.