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Floating casino law flouted off NSW


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P&O Cruises has been accused of operating an illegal floating casino off the NSW coast over the weekend.

A three-night food and wine cruise left Sydney on Friday night and the following morning docked in Jervis Bay where blackjack, pontoon, three-card poker and roulette was played and 40 poker machines were available.

Passengers could obtain up to $5000 in gambling money off their credit cards - a practice not available in gambling facilities in NSW.

The clubs movement yesterday criticised the cruise and claimed it was illegal, saying both NSW and ACT laws forbade casinos off the coast.

Cruise ships are supposed to run casinos only when at least 12 nautical miles offshore and on international routes.

P&O claimed last night that it was acting within the law as it was 12 nautical miles away from Sydney. But the clubs movement was in uproar over what it said was a clear breach.

"P&O's decision to allow a floating casino to operate while docked on the south coast without the appropriate government licensing is downright dangerous," Clubs NSW chief executive Anthony Ball said.

"I think most people would be shocked and extremely disappointed to learn that P&O has for years being taking locals a few miles offshore where responsible gambling laws don't apply and state taxes aren't paid.

"This new practice of docking at Jervis Bay goes too far and demonstrates a complete disregard for NSW's responsible gambling laws.

"You cannot operate a casino without a gambling licence in NSW or the ACT unless you are at least 12 nautical miles off the coast.

"I hope P&O immediately sink their floating casino."

A passenger said the casino was not opened until the cruise left Sydney but was packed once it opened, including during a long stay in Jervis Bay.

"I saw people who'd had way too much to drink gambling. We were in Jervis Bay and I walked through the casino and I thought 'Hang on, we're not the required distance (offshore)," he said.

A P&O Cruises spokesman said the company understood it was entitled to operate the casino once it was 12 nautical miles out of the port of Sydney.

Even docked at Jervis Bay, it was still more than 12 nautical miles from port, the P&O spokesman said.

"P&O Cruises operates within the relevant regulatory frameworks and guidelines in relation to the operation of on-board casinos," he said.

"The expectation on cruise ships are casinos remain closed while the ship is in port. We uphold that provision. We don't open a casino until a ship is 12 nautical miles from port. The relevant port is Sydney."

 

By Andrew Clennell, State Political Editor

<LI class="source " sizset="0" sizcache="13228">From: The Daily Telegraph <LI class="date-and-time last">July 25, 2012

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I was wondering about that when we saw it ourselves. I thought the laws must have changed as ships previously couldn't operate casinos so close to shore. I thought the laws must have changed like in WA, but it does sound like a breach if they haven't.

 

For the record though, the casino wasn't "packed" as claimed above.

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I was wondering about that when we saw it ourselves. I thought the laws must have changed as ships previously couldn't operate casinos so close to shore. I thought the laws must have changed like in WA, but it does sound like a breach if they haven't.

 

For the record though, the casino wasn't "packed" as claimed above.

 

Also the ship doesn't "dock" in Jervis Bay, it "anchors", so there are two inaccurate statements for a start. :cool:

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Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Like none of us have ever seen people obviously under the influence of alcohol still gambling or drinking in a club when that is clearly against the law!

 

Really what difference does it make, 3 days or 9 days cruise? I doubt if anyone gambling on a cruise is taking food out of their children's mouths which is often the case in land based clubs.

 

Sue

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He's a bit slow off the whinging mark isn't he.

I did the 3 dayer in July 2011 and November 2011, both "docked" in Jervis Bay and both had the casino open.

Wish these reporters would get with the program LOL :p

 

But on the other side of the coin.............maybe P&O might actually "cruise" for the 3 dayers in future LOL

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So when the Pacific Dawn or Pacific Sun did, cruises up the Qld coast, though it leaves Brisbane at 2pm, it does not in fact head to sea till at least 6pm when it drops the pilot off just north of Caloundra.

I see in the Pacific Daily the Casino opens 2 hours after sailing, so at that stage they would be still ni Moreton Bay.

Don't know what Qld laws are.

Val

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So when the Pacific Dawn or Pacific Sun did, cruises up the Qld coast, though it leaves Brisbane at 2pm, it does not in fact head to sea till at least 6pm when it drops the pilot off just north of Caloundra.

I see in the Pacific Daily the Casino opens 2 hours after sailing, so at that stage they would be still ni Moreton Bay.

Don't know what Qld laws are.

Val

You are correct in saying that gambling is a State government issue.

 

A friend who works for the Q'ld Gov't in the area of gambling regulation told us that this would be legal under Q'ld legislation.

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I can't see anything wrong in what they are doing, in NSW or elsewhere, it's not as though non-passengers can hop on the ship just to gamble, but I guess there are laws in place to stop small operators eg charter boats, just going to sea and having gambling parties.

It's like the law that you can't smoke within 4 metres of an entrance to public place, yet to get into our local shopping centre there is a 15 metre long ramp (approx 2 metreswide) to the entrance, yet people can smoke at the end of the ramp as long as they don't smoke near the entrance, defeats the object of the law.

Sorry off topic, but shows how laws don't always work.

Val

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I can't see anything wrong in what they are doing, in NSW or elsewhere, it's not as though non-passengers can hop on the ship just to gamble, but I guess there are laws in place to stop small operators eg charter boats, just going to sea and having gambling parties.

It's like the law that you can't smoke within 4 metres of an entrance to public place, yet to get into our local shopping centre there is a 15 metre long ramp (approx 2 metreswide) to the entrance, yet people can smoke at the end of the ramp as long as they don't smoke near the entrance, defeats the object of the law.

Sorry off topic, but shows how laws don't always work.

Val

 

 

The ramp is not the entrance? what about shop fronts on a footpath,you can smoke within millimeters.

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I was on a three dayer and it stayed tied up in Sydney overnight due to a problem. The Casino was open whilst we were tied to the dock with a gang plank down, LOL

 

K

 

You were lucky K. Our 3 dayer in July 2011 (or was it the other one??? :confused:) was stuck overnight at port due to 10 metre swell at Sydney Heads :eek: so in their infinite wisdom they decided that it would be better to wait overnight before leaving (and then conduct muster as we hit the heads in 6-7 metre swell - now that wasn't pretty with chunder everywhere haha). The casino didn't open and there was an all out mutiny.............with people going nutz demanding to be let off so they could go to Star City instead and they wouldn't let them off........NO it wasn't me :p Found plenty of other things to do for the evening :)

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Just a small question. Do any of the 3 night cruises actually sail anywhere these days or do they all go to JB and drop the pick? We did some many moons ago and the ship headed up the north coast of NSW. At about lunch time on Saturday they would do a loop in Trial Bay and continue heading north until the high rises on the Gold Coast just came into view late in the arvo before turning around and heading back to Sydney. Would much prefer to do a 3 night cruise than a 2 day anchor! They are just making it harder and harder for us to pick P&O.

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Just a small question. Do any of the 3 night cruises actually sail anywhere these days or do they all go to JB and drop the pick? We did some many moons ago and the ship headed up the north coast of NSW. At about lunch time on Saturday they would do a loop in Trial Bay and continue heading north until the high rises on the Gold Coast just came into view late in the arvo before turning around and heading back to Sydney. Would much prefer to do a 3 night cruise than a 2 day anchor! They are just making it harder and harder for us to pick P&O.

 

We were on a 3 nighter in Feb, on Rhapsody of the Seas, and we were cruising the whole time.....Jarvis Bay wasn't even in sight.... Actually we headed north too....:D:D

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We have been anchored in Moreton Bay over night when the port of Brisbane was close due to high winds and the casino was not opened till it was dark, and the CD at the time came on the inter com and very boldly said we have move the ship into open waters and the casino is open,

 

There was just one then wrong, we had not moved and were still anchored in the same spot we were anchored in all day, I do believe they got fined for that little money making effet.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have done three "short breaks" as P&O call them one in JAN on the Pearl where they casino didnt open until we were well clear of the NZ coast and had actually turned left towards Australia past the Bay of Islands, One in April on the Jewel out of SYD where we anchored in Jervis Bay, from memory they opened the casino just as we were out of the heads.... On the Pearl earlier this month, they annouced our course at informed us that we would be sailing into the state of Victoria for "technical reasons" -- technically they are correct I guess :D haha we anchored just off the coast of Lakes Entrance near apparently what was the location for filiming the kids show Round the Twist for about 3 hours and bobbed around.

 

I am frankly happy they are forced to do this, I felt a bit cheated to go float in Jervis Bay. Frankly I could of rented a very nice house down the south coast for much the same price we paid for our cabin (we booked last minute so it was just under $600 each) and still come with a cheaper booze bill than the $1100 we spent and had much the same weekend to be honest.....

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  • 2 weeks later...
I

I am frankly happy they are forced to do this, I felt a bit cheated to go float in Jervis Bay. Frankly I could of rented a very nice house down the south coast for much the same price we paid for our cabin (we booked last minute so it was just under $600 each) and still come with a cheaper booze bill than the $1100 we spent and had much the same weekend to be honest.....

 

We were on the cruise that this thread was started about and paid just $199 each. 3 nights accomodation, all meals & entertainment.......definately couldn't get a place in JB or anywhere else with all that included at that price:D. While I would have preferred to have been cruising rather than anchored, it didn't really bother me. We were still on a ship on water:).

 

I will also add that whilst we were anchored in JB, the water police came onboard to take off an unruly passenger.

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We were on the cruise that this thread was started about and paid just $199 each. 3 nights accomodation, all meals & entertainment.......definately couldn't get a place in JB or anywhere else with all that included at that price:D. While I would have preferred to have been cruising rather than anchored, it didn't really bother me. We were still on a ship on water:).

 

I will also add that whilst we were anchored in JB, the water police came onboard to take off an unruly passenger.

 

What a steal, yeah I know you take some you loose some I paid only $199 for 4 nights in Feb from AKL to SYD so I guess when you average it out! Haha. I was just saying for what we paid, I felt like I was getting robbed of not being rocked to sleep!

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I have noticed that the last 2 weekend cruises to nowhere went to Gabo Island, which is near the Victorian boarder.

 

Yeah we went down to Lakes Entrance and then turned around and came back to anchor at Gabo Island. It wasn't as beautiful as sailing into jervis bay but still very pleasant.

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That being the case, did you still have regular mobile phone coverage whilst anchored off Gabo or Jervis Bay?

 

Yeah Jervis Bay had the best reception, Gabo Island was still a bit patchy, I generally lost signal on either voyage about 3 hours out of SYD. Reception was decent on both voyages on the sea days. (I am with optus and was getting better reception that when I'm sitting at my desk in wynyard) go figure!

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