Business at the Lido casino on the Leisure World cruise ship nose-dived in 2010 after Las Vegas Sands’ Marina Bay Sands and Genting Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa opened their doors. A spokesman for New Century Tours, the Singapore-based operator funneling gamblers to the Queenston Maritime-owned Leisure World, told the Straits Times that the ship had “fewer than 500 passengers on some days.”
Two other casino cruise ships that used to ply their trade in international waters off Singapore went belly up after the integrated resorts opened. But the passage of time means the novelty of the land-based casinos has worn off while interest in more cost-effective gaming options has increased. The New Century spokesman said Leisure World’s daily passenger rates are back up between 600 and 700, four of five of whom are Singaporeans (the rest Malaysians).
Leisure World has proven particularly popular among older Singaporeans, who pay just $23 on weekdays for a day trip that includes free buffet meals. Those under 55 years old pay $43. Another appeal is the low minimum bets at the Lido’s 40 gaming tables, with bets starting at $2 rather than the $25 minimums at Singapore’s resorts. (The Lido also offers 200 electronic gaming machines, but these are less popular.) And unlike its land-based competition, the Lido doesn’t require Singaporeans to pony up S$100 to cross the threshold.
The concept of onboard gambling is a popular one in Asian jurisdictions and more are looking to join the party. South Korea approved casino cruise legislation in January and Genting is reportedly negotiating with Indian officials about adding a port of call for its zodiac-themed casino-equipped cruise ships to the coastal city of Vizag in Andhra Pradesh.
Just try not to fall (or jump) overboard…