Maybe this should be posted on another board, but after some discussions I wonder if the ship casinos are bound by any regulating council of the country of registry? Some ships of the same cruiseline will be registered in different countries. Do their gaming laws apply to a ship at sea?
I've heard a number of people say the slots are tighter on this ship or that ship. This may be true if they are not regulated. And, if they are regulated and must set the machines to pay out at a certain rate, then it seems a ship registered in a country with favorable gaming laws would be more attractive to cruising gamblers.
I've also heard people say that the slots are a little looser later in the cruise. Is this a marketing strategy?
I would say as afr as marketing startegu, that the slots should be looser in the beginning there fore allowing you to a...gamble more....b...spend the money buying souveniers or liquor. if it was later, then you could take your money home.
On the last day of my first week on the Trimph last month, on the quarter machine - I hit the Jackpot twice and then the next payoff twice, then the next payoff once - all at different times during the day - ON THE SAME MACHINE - total of $1750. Which I so kindly gave back $900 at the blackjack and three card poker tables.
The next week that slot machine paid nothing. I must have worn it out. :-)
Cruise ships are regulated primarily by their country of registry, so the degree of regulation and enforcement can vary widely. The SOLAS ("Safety of Life at Sea") treaty now gives the right to conduct safety inspections for compliance with its requirements to every country in which a ship calls, but that authority does not extend to casinos, bingo, and other entertainment.
I know from first-hand experience that Princess's ships run straight casinos with the same strict controls that you would find in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, and I suspect that all other major cruise lines do likewise. Straight casinos are cash cows (which is why the Principality of Monaco has NO taxes whatsoever) because the odds generally favor the house, albeit only slightly, so there's no reason for the casinos to cheat.
I was assured by a casino manager that the cruise line casinos operate under the rules and regulations of the Nevada Gaming Authority.
This does not dictate the percentage of payouts on their machines; just that they are not "fixed", and will pay off at a pre set rate or return.
There is no need to fix any of their games, as they have a willing and captive audience. And in the case of their table games, primarily inexperienced.
They operate "under" the rules and regulations of the Nevada Gaming Authority? O.K., but who inspects the ships and who has authority to administer penalties of violators? And why would a ship registered in Liberia want to voluntarily operate their casino under the rules of Nevada?
Odds are fixed on table games but there are some opportunities to favor the house or player. For instance, double (or more) free odds on craps, 1 or 2 green spaces on roulette, exposing dealer blackjacks immediately, etc. But on slots the machines can be set to pay out the minimum allowed or more if they choose.
Agree with you on the inexperienced. I was on one ship at the crap table and had to instruct the dealer on what bets to pay and how much. She routinely gave the wrong amounts.
I did a story on casino gambling for a major cruise magazine a couple of years ago and researched the heck out of the issue.
The most forthcoming cruise line exec I interviewed said that his line considers bingo and casino gambling as a form of entertainment and, because it costs money to be entertained, the casino staff has to work particularly hard.
It's an urban legend that slots are "looser" earlier in a cruise, according to an executive from one of the big slot maufacturers. The payouts are determined when the machines are ordered and programmed on CMOS chips. In theory, the chips could be reprogrammed or replaced, but it's not done. Cruise lines do board "techies" in case of a malfunctioning slot but they are not authorized to change the CMOS chips unless that's what's broken.
My two biggests slot hits have been on the last night out, but I did well enough first and second nights out on the last cruise to fund a private cocktail party.
Thanks for clearing that up Pam. But what about the regulating body? Is it true, as Kuki says, they operate under Nevada gaming laws? If so, who audits them for compliance?
And as I'm laughing, does it surprise anyone the cruiseline exec. would "consider" gambling and bingo as entertainment? What a standard response! It's a revenue source and we all know it. If it was entertainment, I was not entertained on my last cruise and want a refund! Why can't I play craps with funny money? Break out the monopoly money, were going to the blackjack table for entertainment. Yea, right!
And the "techies" on board who are not authorized to change the CMOS chips unless they are broken are authorized by whom? If a CMOS chip needs replacing what safeguards are in place to insure a chip with the same payout as originally installed is again installed? To keep in compliance with "gaming laws."
Thomas.. they said they operate under the rules of the Nevada Gaming commission. They didn't say they were licensed, or regulated by them<G>.
Even if they did, I don't believe the Nevada Gaming Commission dictates the pay outs of the slot machines.
Payout percentages on slots, and odds on table games will vary around the world depending on competition in the area. Obviously the ships at sea don't have that concern.
I believe the "actual" difference from the $ amounts in to machines, to the $ amounts payed out are around 70% on ships.
Many Las Vegas casinos will advertise 97% payouts, but that is not an actual comparison figure of dollar differences as I described above. That figure included credits awarded to players, but then spun away. Using that same system of calculation, I think ship's slots are set to pay around 82%.
I always thought the advertised 97% payout was exclusive to just a few machines and not an over all number. And I thought that rate was only found on nickle machines. I could be wrong.
I do know the gaming commission allows a certain maximum casino advantage on slots. That is, in New Jersey it is 17% for the house and no more. So for every $100 put into the machine it must pay out $83 or more, but the casino can set the payout higher if they choose to attract customers. I don't know what Nevada's rules are. But if the ship's casinos are operating under the Nevada Gaming Commission rules the slots should be set to that standard as well.
I'll stick to the best bet in the house..........craps.
For some casinos on land it is cheaper for them to pay the fine then to set the machines into complaince with the regulations.
I know there is a casino close to where I used to live in Wisconsin that paid the daily fine because it was cheaper then having the mandated payouts. It shouldn't be that way, but it is a business afterall they go the route of less expense out of their pocket.
The slot machines are pre-set at the factory with their pay-out rates. Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip are the loosest at 97%. Most other places where there is less competition tend to have tighter slots. States with "limited" gambling such as Mississippi or Colorado tend to run around 90% to 95% payouts. Grocery stores and cruise ships tend to have the tightest slots, but these are seldom lower than 80%. As for regulation, the cruise lines voluntarily regulate themselves by following the Nevada guidelines. It is to their advantage since they gain so much of their revenues from the casinos to keep the games honest, than have a scandal about cheating and loose the confidence (and then the revenue) from the average passanger.
If you want to research this further, go to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (www.lvrj.com). They provide extensive coverage of the gaming industry. They even covered a Colorado Department of Transportation meeting where a new interchange was proposed on I-70 to provide access to a new highway to Central City (and the casinos there).
I believe that the regulation of the casions would fall under the ships registry country while the ship is in international waters. Most places now use Nevada as the lead for setting gaming regulations. For details on their regulations, go to www.gaming.state.nv.us. Hope these links clear up some concerns.
This brings me to a question, are the casino operations contracted out by the cruise lines?
Good job Bruce. The questions are resolved. Sort of!
Under the Rules of Play paragraph it says: "Each line will provide a gaming guide setting forth the rules of play for their casino."
To me this means they can establish certain rules that either favor the house or player. Such as, in Las Vegas you'll find some casinos which will have only 1 green space on the roulette wheel as opposed to 2 spaces. Of course, this is the space in which if the ball lands the house takes all bets. In fact, this is the "house's cut" so to speak, as the other bets are paid off at true odds. This also means that some ship casinos could play single deck Blackjack rather than 8 deck shoes. Which is also an option in casinos in Las Vegas.
I guess the bottom line is each line is allowed some degree of freedom to establish rules to enhance the casino's profits or the player's return. I wonder when the cruiselines will start adverstising "The Best Slots Payouts on the Sea", or "The Only Single Deck Blackjack Games Amongst the Whales."
I live in the Las Vegas area, and even here, the casinos consider gambling a form of entertainment. That is the reason you see 'GAMING' instead of 'gambling'. It is just another ploy to get you to see that you are not losing money, but simply paying for an evening out.
As for the slot payouts, there is a minimum set by Nevada Gaming, and the casinos have the option to 'up' it if they want, which most do. The only way to figure the odds on a particular machine is to play 'X' amount of dollars and see how much you got back. This, however, can be costly. That is why there are so many slots.........unknown % of payback, and they are easy to operate.......a good combo for revenue!
Video poker % of payback, on the other hand, are VEY easy to determine just by looking ar the payscale of each hand.........there are many good books written on which games to play and what payouts to look for. Some are even over %100 payback with perfect play.
Craps and blackjack also have variable rules that effect the odds, so I always ask before I sit down to play. I enjoy some of the best rules for blackjack here in Las Vegas, so I always play where I can get the best odds. That is why I dont play much on the ships. I remember a cruise where a blackjack payed even money, instead of 3:2!
I beg to differ for your statement that the 'other bets are paid off at true odds'. On Roulette, the bets are NOT true odds. There is a possible 38 or 37 numbers for the ball to drop, depending is it a 0 or 00 game. With true odds, they would pay 37:1 or 36:1. They dont.......they still pay off at the standard 35:1 for a straight up number. This results in a 5.26% for the 00 game, or 2.63% for the 0 game. Obviously, a single 0 game reduces your odds by half, so this is the game to lay if their is a choice, but it is still a high-odds game. Stick with craps, blackjack, and video poker. They tend to have lower odds.
I stated that the other bets, other than the 0 or 00 slots are paid off at true odds. Disregard the 37th or 38th slots and the other bets on roulette are true payoffs. The 0 and 00 slots are the "house's cut" as I stated and because they are on the wheel they, of course, affect the odds of the other bets. There is no misunderstanding that if you lay a bet on the 14 number for instance, the odds of hitting that number is 1:38 (double zero) but it pays 36:1 and not 38:1.