BUSINESS

Mile High Rollers: French design firms propose installing casinos on jet airliners

TAGs: airplane, casinos, gorton amendment

jet-airliner-casinosNortheast Ohio residents will soon find it easier to get their gamble on if junket flights to Las Vegas are made available from Youngtown-Warren Regional Airport. Vindy.com reports it’s been almost three years since the airport offered any direct flights to Vegas, but Frontier Airlines – which has a relationship with Caesars Entertainment – is due to begin operating there in January, and both companies have told local director of aviations Dan Dickten they’re planning to offer junkets to Vegas at least once a month.

In France, a consortium of designers is planning an end around the airline junket model by installing small casinos directly aboard jet airliners. The Independent reports that two Toulouse-based firms, AirJet Designs and Designescence, have gone as far as to mock up the forward section of a Boeing 777 to test their concept of “a new entertainment and social space designed for long-haul commercial flights.” The plan involves adding a card table or two to the in-flight lounges some airlines currently make available to their first-class passengers. Aircraft Interiors International editor Adam Gavine suggested roulette probably wasn’t an option, given that achieving perfect balance at 20,000 feet “is simply not possible.” Especially if you’ve had a few drinks…

Gambling on planes isn’t a new concept. Singapore Airlines briefly installed slot machines (in plastic housings to reduce their weight) on its 747s in the 1980s, and budget carrier RyanAir presently hawks scratchcard lottery tickets to its passengers/hostages. All of the above options won’t fly in America, where the 1994 ‘Gorton Amendment’ – named for anti-gambling stickler Sen. Slade Gorton (R-WA) – prohibits airlines from installing, transporting, operating or permitting the use of any gambling device if they so much as approach US airspace.

Another noted hysteria-prone anti-gambling voice, Professor Mark Griffiths of Notthingham Trent University, warned that gambling losses “can lead to frustration and irritability, and in extreme cases, anger and aggression” that could “cause problems for other passengers and airline crew.” (Airline passengers getting frustrated and irritable? Inconceivable!) But maybe some enterprising Asian junket operator will buy up an old airliner, rip out the seats, install a host of VIP baccarat tables, map out a flight route over international waters and cut out the casinos in Macau entirely. Throw in a few sleeping lounges, hire a few ready, willing and able girls and you could offer Asian high rollers the opportunity to gamble and join the Mile-High Club at the same time. Hmm… Is the name Mile High Rollers trademarked yet?

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