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Travel agents are reacting to the news that Princess Cruises has become the first cruise line to successfully offer sports betting at sea.
With the first wager being made this week onboard Majestic Princess, the cruise line's new Ocean Sportsbook real-time sports wagering experience is now available for all eligible passengers as part of the Princess MedallionClass product.
Travelers will be able to bet on major sports competitions like professional and college football, basketball, baseball and hockey, but guests won't be able to wager on the Miami Heat of the NBA, as the team's owner Micky Arison is also the chairman of Carnival Corp.
"Being that sports betting is everywhere, it only makes sense to give those folks that may enjoy gambling, but don't really enjoy sitting in the casino a chance to win big, even at sea," Travel by John's John Maddox said.
Sports betting will be available to passengers when Majestic Princess is in international waters or docked in a country that allows gambling. With more than $20 billion in wagers placed with U.S. sportsbooks in the past two years, sports betting is experiencing extraordinary growth and is expected to reach more than $155 billion by 2024.
The addition of sports betting to the cruise experience is likely to spread to other companies, and travel advisors are letting their voices be heard about the inevitable growth of sportsbooks at sea.
"Personally, I think adding any additional forms of entertainment for cruise passengers to enjoy is a plus for the industry," Cruise Vacations International's Jeremy Hall said. "I don't see sports betting having any negative effect on passengers as it seems the wagers are placed either in the casino or on the app. Gambling and watching sports onboard are both staples for many cruise passengers so kudos for those who found a way to blend both together."
"I love the addition of sports betting. It brings a whole new dynamic to the casino and the cruise ship experience," Tom Hollembaek from CruisePlanners said. "People want sports betting. It brings guests to the casino together in a unique way. All cruise ships should expand to include sports bets."
While most are all-in on the sports betting at sea idea, Scott Lara of TheCruiseGenius.com is concerned about the potential impact on the family experience.
"Adding sports betting to cruise ship entertainment may be profitable, but I'm concerned about the family dynamic," Lara said. "With so many more gamblers on board, will it take away from wholesome family enjoyment?"
Donald Wood is TravelPulse’s senior writer in the breaking news department, bringing nearly 15 years of experience to the desk....
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