Gambling in the 21st Century Spreading to Ships in Ports and Pool Decks on Ships

Sometime soon, which is to say in the next few months, nine of Celebrity's 11 ships will be outfitted with technology that will allow passengers to gamble on their phones and/or tablets while on a ship that's in international waters. Bringing the casino to the patrons, as it were. About the time this was announced, Bermuda's government was passing a bill allowing passengers to gamble on ships in the popular port after nine o'clock at night. If something can ever be a safe bet (pun intended), these two "gambles" qualify.

Gambling is almost everywhere in the 21st century. You can debate the social fallout long into the night, or the year, but you cannot debate the popularity. Drive by a casino at any time it is open and see how many cars are in the parking lot…any casino, any parking lot. Check out casino entertainment and note how many of the headliners are performing long after you would have expected them to retire…hello there, Frankie Valli, who's 79 and still worth the price of admission.

Casinos are part of the fabric of life now, and that's why the Celebrity decision and the Bermuda vote are safe bets. Both will be popular moves, no matter what Gamblers Anonymous might say.

The Bermuda move was more or less expected. At stake was the future of cruise ships going there.

The Celebrity strategy is unique, but maybe it shouldn't be. Our resident expert, Phil Reimer of Ports and Bows, has discovered that 40 per cent of cruise revenue comes from on-board products…and table games and slot machines play a significant part. So why wouldn't Celebrity (or any cruise line) want to find new ways to maximize that?

On ships in the Solstice Class (5) and the Millennium Class (4), here's how it will work:

1. Passengers will create a virtual wallet at the casino desk (think credit card)

2. They will download a free app, Cantor Mobile Casino, to their smartphones or tablets via WiFi

3. Table games, slot machines or video poker will be available for their Apple and Android devices anywhere on the ship.

Will this mobile gaming take people deeper into gambling? Maybe. However, if people choose to gamble nowadays, they don't have far to go, do they?

You can't always protect people from themselves.

Celebrity Constellation
12 nights
November 12, 2013
Istanbul (return): EphesusBodrumRhodes, Marmaris, SantoriniAthensMykonosCrete
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $41
www.celebritycruises.com

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