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HOME > NEWS > Featured Articles > Deal Me In: Pirates of the Caribbean

Deal Me In: Pirates of the Caribbean

29 November 2011

By Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: I am going on a cruise in March and was wondering should I expect the same payoffs on slots that I receive here in Biloxi? Also, how are casinos regulated on a cruise ship, and what if a dispute was to happen? Emile D.

When sailing the high seas, Emile, your floating hotel casino offers the only game in town. Competition is what raises slot payoffs, but on open water, cruise ships have none, just a captive audience whose only escape is jumping over the rail.

They also know their patronage, that being you, are one-timers, on vacation, with disposable income burning a hole in their pocket. The casino within doesn’t give one iota about repeat business, because you’re probably never coming back.

So, what can a one-time player expect in terms of paybacks from these luxury liners? Take out a dictionary and look up words like horrific, horrendous, horrid, hideous or hellish. Possibly, a slightly higher payback would be pistol-dueling Captain Blackbeard and claiming his treasure. Yo ho, yo ho, and a pirate's life for you.

As for regulation and oversight, Emile, there is an organization called the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) that offers some regulatory controls, but it’s nowhere near the same level as the control agencies in Nevada, Atlantic City, Detroit, Biloxi or any other major US land-based casino market. Cruise ships operate in international waters and are not bound by stateside regulations, and as for getting hold of the ICCL at sea, good luck to ya.

As for a gaming dispute, if you feel you have an issue that cannot be resolved by the casino manager, climb the ladder and bring it to the attention of the hotel manager. That’s pretty much it. The only gaming control agent you’ll find on a cruise ship is topside, basking in the glow of the Caribbean sunshine on a deck chair, mojito in hand, on vacation just like you.

Gambling aboard cruise ships is something knowledgeable Deal Me In readers should avoid. Besides, Emile, cruise ships offer plenty of other diversionary activities besides yanking handles on penny slots.

Bon voyage and happy buffeting!

Dear Mark: Someone told me you could tease both sides of the same sporting event. Is that true? Johnny R.

A teaser is a bet on two or more teams where the bettor can add or subtract points (typically seven) from the spread in return for reduced odds. Like a parlay bet, all results must win for you to be paid.

Although not widely offered, what you are asking, Johnny, is called an “In and Out Teaser,” where you pick both the favorite and the underdog of the same game.

Using this Thanksgiving Day’s game of Detroit versus Green Bay as an example, the current line while writing this is GB -6. An in and out teaser would have you teasing both Detroit and Green Bay and getting an additional 7 points to increase your odds of winning, giving you DET +13 and GB +1. As long as the spread covers both wagers, your two-team bet is a winner.

Update: Final GB 27 -- DET 15, which would have given you a win on an In and Out Teaser.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Everything in life is luck.” —Donald Trump

Mark Pilarski
Mark  Pilarski
Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the gambling trenches, working for seven different casinos. He now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer, and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.

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