Grounded Cruise Ship Casino Lies Idle off Southeast Coast
Just about every luxury cruise ship offers a real money gambling casino as part of its amenities. In certain parts of the country such as Mississippi, real money gambling on a riverboat casino is big business for some of the major players in the casino gambling industry. In a recent post on the UK site Daily Mail , the ill-fated story of the Casino Royal casino ship paints a darker portrait of gambling on the water.
The Casino Royal was the name sake of a 6000 sq. ft ship that was built for the sole purpose of real money gambling. It offered three separate decks with dozens of gaming tables for blackjack, craps, and roulette as well as 200 slot machines and video poker machines. The fourth deck of the ship was used for sightseeing.
When Did The Grounded Cruise Ship Casino Lie Idle off Southeast Coast?
Built in Florida back in 1978, the ship was designed to cruise into international waters to offer legal casino gambling to its patrons. This usually involved a three-mile trip off the coast to skirt US maritime laws a they applied to real money gambling. In the early 2000’s, the cruise ship moved its base of operations to the Gulf Coast and over the course of its sorted past, the ship went by a number of different names with a number of different owners.
The trouble started when the vessel was first shutdown for illegal gambling when it was discovered that its gaming tables and slot machines were open for play within the three-mile limit. New owners came in and continued to look for opportunities to run the casino just off US waters.
More recently, the Casino Royal ran aground in 2014 while operating off the South Carolina and Georgia coast. Passengers were stranded for hours as the ship stayed idle on a sandbar before they were evacuated to a rescue boat. More allegations of illegal gambling within the three-mile limit dogged the current owners at the time.
After running aground again in 2015, the US Coast Guard order the ship to cease operations and its operator’s license was revoked . It was once again put up for sale, but this time no new buyers came forward. It has been sitting idle ever since and the only time it was moved from its current location off the Southeast coast was in 2016 to avoid the path of Hurricane Matthew.
The Casino Royal was also known as the Diamond Royale
Over the course of its history, the Casino Royal was also known as the Diamond Royale and the Escapade among the dozens of different names it operated under. While the gaming tables remain empty and the slot machines quiet, it has become somewhat of tourist attraction given its eerie resemblance to a ghost ship.
Pictures included in the Daily Mail post show a roulette wheel with chips still on the gaming table. There is a row of slot machines with a full beer still sitting on top of a Double Diamond machine. Everything has been frozen in time since it ceased operations over three years ago.
The future of the Casino Royal remains unknown; however, the current owners have said there are plans to renovate the ship and resume operations. Before Hurricane Katrina and other tropical storms, the Riverboat casino business in Mississippi was booming. While most of the cruise ships and riverboats were in Tunica, Mississippi has a lot of land casino resorts in Philadelphia and Baton Rouge. A lot of the Riverboat casinos were flooded due to the inclement weather over the past few years, which puts some of them out of business. We hope that the future of Casino Royal is bright even if they have to move locations.
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