Royal Caribbean has been carefully transforming its jazz clubs into small, smoke-free casinos in recent months, according to the Royal Caribbean Blog website. The world’s second biggest cruise line, Royal Caribbean’s fleet encompasses 64 ships which sail to roughly 1000 destinations around the globe. Subsidiaries include Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises.
These vessels now feature a Casino Royale, which also has separate, smoke-free gaming rooms. Oasis of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas have already replaced their “Jazz on 4” clubs with these non-smoking casino rooms. These jazz clubs featured nightly performances of jazz music, but the spaces were underused during the day.
The Casino Royale has a vast space which typically covers several thousand square feet. Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO, has expressed that smoking in the casinos has been a difficult matter to deal with. Many gamblers prefer to smoke while playing, while some guests have complained they would gamble if Casino Royal was smoke-free. As a result, Royal Caribbean has been experimenting with making the entire Casino Royale smoke-free, which resulted in lower traffic.
The Jazz on 4 conversion into smoke-free casinos is an attempt to keep customers satisfied. Nevertheless, the number of games offered in the smoke-free casino rooms is much less than those on the main Casino Royale floor. For example, Oasis of the Seas’ smoke-free casino room has 40 slot machines and two live dealer table games, while its Casino Royale offers nearly 500 slots and 24 table games, along with a poker room and a full-service bar and lounge.
Cruise ships normally follow the gambling laws of the country where the ships are docked. Since commercial gambling is illegal in Florida where many Royal Caribbean ships depart, the casino must be closed until the vessel sails at least 12 nautical miles off the US coastline. Once in international waters, casino cruises can begin their gaming operations. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) regulates cruise ship casinos, with members such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Emerald, Disney, Norwegian, Princess, Regent, and Virgin being required to adopt the same regulatory standards as imposed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board on its state-licensed casinos. In addition, CLIA mandates that cruise ship casinos reveal house rules and undertake an annual independent audit of their gaming operations to ensure fair play.