Princess Cruises Offering High Seas Sports Wagering When Ships Sail Again

Posted on: February 2, 2021, 08:05h. 

Last updated on: February 2, 2021, 12:44h.

It’s not hard to find casinos aboard cruise ships. But Princess Cruises is sailing into new territory with sportsbooks on some of its vessels.

Princess Sportsbook
Passengers disembarking a Princess ship in Florida last year. The company is launching an onboard sportsbook when it resumes sailing. (Image: AP News)

The operator said Monday the Ocean Sportsbook will be available on its MedallionClass ships when those ships hit the seas again.

With more than $20 billion in wagers placed with US sportsbooks in the past two years, sports betting is experiencing extraordinary growth, and is expected to reach more than $155 billion by 2024,” according to a statement issued by the cruise line.

Much like the land-based casino business, the cruise industry was slammed by the coronavirus pandemic, prompting operators to explore new revenue sources. However, there’s a major difference between the two leisure groups. While casinos are open for business across the US — under COVID-19 restrictions — cruise ships aren’t sailing from North American ports.

Some operators modestly restarted operations out of Europe. while SeaDream Yacht Club resumed sailings in November out of Barbados, with a disastrous outcome. That voyage resulted in a COVID-19 outbreak and a quarantine for all passengers, according to The Points Guy.

Princess Sports Betting Points of Interest

As for Princess, the company recently scrapped global sailings through May 14, so it will be some time before passengers can indulge in the new Ocean Sportsbook offering. The operator’s Japan cruises are canceled through June 25.

All Princess cruises longer than seven days sailing from US ports are halted through Nov. 1 in response to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Framework for Conditional Sailing” directive, according to the company.

When the line welcomes back travelers, guests will be able to place wagers in the Ocean Sportsbook when ships are in international waters or when the vessels are docked in ports where sports wagering is legal. Princess’s North American ports of call are in Alaska, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver.

Sports wagering is legal in Washington State, but only at tribal gaming venues. There could be some movement on the regulated sports betting scenes in New York and Vancouver this year, but similar action is unlikely in California and Florida.

Speaking of the Sunshine State, Princess is a unit of Carnival Corp. (NYSE:CCL). Chairman Micky Arison owns the NBA’s Miami Heat and his son Nick is CEO of the team, meaning Princess passengers will not be able to place wagers on games involving the Heat regardless of where the ship is sailing.

Part of Broader Digital Gaming Offering

Taking a page from the booming iGaming industry, Princess’s Ocean Sportsbook is linked to the Ocean Casino. That new offering allows passengers to play blackjack, slots, poker, roulette, and other games from anywhere on the ship – not just in the casino.

The cruise operator is going digital in other ways, including using contactless payments and keyless room entry to stem the spread of COVID-19.