The large ferry company P&O has found itself at the centre of a huge NSW government investigation into illegal offshore casino gambling.
The story goes that for years P&O cruise ships have been picking up passengers in Sydney for a three night cruise full of food and drink, but when the ship was 12 miles from dock it opened its casino for revellers to enjoy. Whilst this might sound within the laws of the NSW government which dictate that a ship must be 12 nautical miles off shore, the truth is that P&O ships are 12 nautical miles from the dock when commencing so people are saying P&O is using a loophole in the laws.
The issue everyone is talking about is the fact that it has been reported that 24 hours after setting sail, the P&O ship docked in Jervis Bay and gambling continued. This, it is said, is flaunting the laws of gaming at sea and makes the P&O ships actions illegal.
The law is saying that ships must be 12 nautical miles off shore; P&O is saying they were 12 nautical miles from Sydney so in their eyes they were within the law.
A P&O spokesperson said “P&O Cruises operates within the relevant regulatory frameworks and guidelines in relation to the operation of on-board casinos,”
“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.”
Time will tell what lawmakers for the NSW government make of this, it could be that the wording of legal documents is not clear enough and P&O are actually acting legally through a loophole, or it could be found that P&O have misinterpreted the law and are acting unlawfully.
This is certainly a story to watch!