Texas Casino Cruise Asks Social Media Followers if Company Should Fire Captain Who Struck Jetty

Posted on: April 25, 2017, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: April 25, 2017, 12:04h.

Texas casino cruise ship Jacks or Better (JOB) made plenty of headlines last week after its one and only gambling vessel struck a jetty marker in the Galveston Bay just a little more than a week after the party boat enjoyed its maiden voyage.

Texas casino cruise Jacks or Better
Jacks or Betting Captain David Kendrick hit a jetty while at the helm of the Texas casino cruise ship. (Image: Jacks or Better)

The accident didn’t result in injuries, but did startle passengers after a loud crashing sound was heard. One overly dramatic on-board gambler linked the incident to that of the “Titanic.”

JOB says it’s spending $40,000 to repair the side of the boat. Fortunately, that was the extent of the damages.

It’s not the physical condition of the boat, however, that is keeping the story in the news, but JOB’s public relations response. The Texas casino cruise ship recently asked to its social media channels, “Jacks or Better Casino must make a decision before we reopen on April 28. Should we reinstate Captain David Kendrick or should we fire him?”

The Facebook and Twitter posts ignited a strong and emotional response from JOB’s followers who decried the gaming operator for seemingly posing a public poll on deciding the future employment of the captain.

JOB General Manager Rocky Herrin said it was all a big misunderstanding.

“Our aim was to see if our passengers and patrons had a comfort level with Captain Kendrick at the helm,” Herrin explained in an additional post. “The poll was never intended to sway management’s decision on captain’s pending hire, rather, it was used to see, as we already believed, an affirmation of overwhelming support he received in prior posts.”

PR Nightmare, or Marketing Genius?

Herrin and JOB’s response to the small accident presumably has many PR experts scratching their heads. Less than 10 days after United Airlines found itself at the center of a national scandal for dragging a man off an overbooked plane, JOB apparently didn’t learn any lessons on how to mitigate scandals and keep emotions at bay.

But while United’s reaction has cost the company an untold number of millions of dollars, for the small casino cruise company, the old adage “all press is good press” seems to be ringing true.

JOB’s social media base has grown exponentially since the jetty collision, with many following for the company’s at times humorous updates. The company shared an onboard video of the collision, and publicly posted the negative drug and alcohol toxicology results of Captain Kendrick that show he was sober.

After a half-dozen updates, some lengthy in vast details and attempted explanations, JOB posted recently, “Hear Ye Hear Ye Hear Ye! Jacks or Betting Casino Reopens Friday, April 28. First 150 people get on.”

Wednesday Verdict

JOB says it will decide the fate of Captain Kendrick on Wednesday. On Thursday, the vessel will once again set sail into the Gulf of Mexico, where gambling is legal once the floating gaming floor is 9.1 miles off the Texas coast.

While JOB has seen its Facebook community grow from just a few hundred likes to over 6,000 in the last 10 days, not everyone appreciates the company’s highly public response to the accident.

Many on social media have scolded the casino, but the worst retaliation, Herrin says, came when someone threw a bag of dog poop at his door.