The restrictions that outlaw casino gambling on cruise ships operating off the coast of Western Australia could be lifted soon, if the soon send, The Western Australian reported.
According to the news outlet, WA Premier Colin Barnett wants to axe the ban that prohibits cruises operating between Western Australia’s ports from opening their casinos to passengers.
Barnett, who also appointed himself as the tourism minister during the recent cabinet reshuffle, said the outdated restrictions “should be scrapped”—but not entirely—because the premier said cruise ships must still be banned from running casinos if they are in port.
“What we wouldn’t allow was a sham operation, a ship that just goes out to the back of Rottnest, puts an anchor down and has a casino running,” Barnett said.
If the changes were approved, ships carrying more than 100 passengers may operate casinos, according to the report. The government, however, must run the proposed changes by James Packer’s Crown Resorts, which holds the exclusive right to operate casinos within 200km of Perth.
Crown and the government already agreed in 2011 to allow cruise ships that are at least 12 nautical miles away from the shore to offer casino gambling.
Barnett believes unshackling the cruise operators won’t bring “material commercial” damage to land-based casinos.
“If people go on a cruise, they expect there to be a casino, they expect it to open, and why not?” the premier said.
According to government figures, West Australia played host to 43 cruise ships last financial year, which generated $275 million of economic activity in the state.
Sailors stranded on abandoned casino ship in Hong Kong harbor
Meanwhile, nearly 50 sailors have been stuck for six months on a cruise liner anchored in Hong Kong harbor near Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, Quartz reported.
A casino ship, the New Imperial Star was used to shuttle Chinese clientele from Hong Kong into international waters where gambling was legal. But in October 2015, the ship was detained by Hong Kong’s Marine Department for failing inspections.
The ship hasn’t moved since, and its crew refused to leave without getting their back pay. Technically, they’re free to leave and are literally within sight of land, but the 46 men and women were unwilling to budge from the dilapidated ship until the ship owner raise the money to pay their five months’ worth of back pay.
This week, the crew went ashore to file for legal aid, which would lead to the ship being auctioned off by Hong Kong courts so the people can finally be paid.