Over the years, in addition to becoming one of the most profitable sectors of the industry, gambling has turned into a kind of entertainment that on many occasions goes hand in hand with tourism and other related industries. Most importantly, besides being available online and in land-based gambling halls, nowadays players can spin the roulette or slot machine reels even on the high seas.
There are different types of entertainment on the water and it seems that this type of business will have some development in the near future. A recent example of the success of this type of gambling are the so-called floating casinos.
In recent years, Macau has surpassed Las Vegas in terms of gambling revenue and several other criteria, becoming the new favourite destination for gamblers from China and beyond. However, entertainment in the region has proven to be too expensive for many gamblers. A large proportion of Chinese gamblers have moved to floating casinos in search of ‘cheaper’ gambling alternatives.
The main reason floating gambling halls attract tourists is the simplified requirements, such as having a residence permit, as betting takes place in international waters. For example, visitors from mainland China who have already entered Hong Kong do not need a permit to board a gambling vessel, whereas the Macau authorities require such a document.
In addition, players’ easier access to casinos in international waters in turn allows owners to avoid paying taxes on their earnings and save huge sums of money they would have paid to the tax authorities.
‘Symphony of the Seas’ sets off on its maiden cruise
When it comes to floating casinos, of course, one immediately thinks of large, multi-storey cruise ships that are equipped with all the amenities one can imagine. It should be noted that these are not only available in destinations like Macau.
Late last month, the Daily Mail announced that the world’s largest and most expensive cruise ship was one step away from its maiden voyage. In fact, its first passengers are expected in April, kicking off a summer season in the Mediterranean with port stops in Spain, France and Italy.
It is Royal Caribbean’s ‘Symphony of the Seas’, which is expected to depart for the first time from Malaga in Spain. It is a ship that weighs an impressive 228,000 tonnes, with a length of 362 metres. In comparison, this is almost the length of the Empire State Building in New York.
Symphony of the Seas’ boasts no less than eight decks and has enough space to accommodate 8,000 people. The ship was built for USD 1.87 billion at a shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France.
Among the many attractions, restaurants, bars where robots whip up cocktails, and a Broadway-style theatre, passengers can enjoy the on-board casino. According to announcements, this should be the largest casino at sea. In addition to ‘Symphony of the Seas’, other ships of Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line will sail in the coming weeks.
Floating islands with casinos
Cruise ships are not the only way it is possible to play on the open sea. It was recently announced that the Austrian company Migaloo Private Submersible Yachts has started to produce floating islands with unprecedented luxury.
On such an island, one can enjoy all kinds of attractions, including a disco, casino or spa. The facilities also include a huge terrace with spectacular views. The minimum size of the island is 100 by 100 metres and it can be equipped at the customer’s request. The price of such an island depends precisely on the wishes of the customer. Among the possibilities, for instance, is a place for shark feeding. The island moves at a speed of 15 kilometres per hour and offers another 15 small yachts with which one can take a stroll.
Dragon Corp’s floating casino
Another recent project is the Dragon Pearl Hotel Casino, which is expected to be completed by 2020. Last year, Macau casino operator Dragon Corp announced that it was seeking to raise $500 million through an ICO (initial coin offerings) fundraiser to build a floating casino.
Investors will be rewarded with tokens that should be converted into gaming chips that can be used in the casino itself. The company’s webpage floats a disclaimer clarifying that contributions should not be considered as a share purchase, but simply a purchase of gaming tokens.
Last month, it was reported that the operator’s project had already raised $320 million from a private pre-sale. Its public sale aimed to raise a further 87.5 million. While the team has not yet disclosed the amount raised from the public, most analysts agree that the target has been met.