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Sports Betting Sails The Seven Seas

Ross Everett
by in Gaming Industry on
  • US cruise operator Princess Cruises has launched an on-board sportsbook for passengers.
  • The platform called ‘Ocean Sportsbook’ is available when ships are in international waters.
  • The new sportsbook will be available on all Princess MedallionClass Ships when sailing resumes.

These are tough times for cruise ships. The vessels are akin to floating petri dishes in normal times (norovirus, anyone?) and the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the industry particularly hard. At this point, there’s no timeframe for when they’ll be up and running again or where they’ll be allowed to travel when it does happen.

The industry needs all the good press they can come up with and we’ve got a little bit of that today. Once the cruises begin sailing again you can bet at sea thanks to a new partnership between gaming technology and software development firm Miomni and Princess Cruises, owned and operated by Carnival Corporation. The platform, cleverly titled ‘Ocean Sportsbook’ is billed as the first time live sports betting has ever been offered on a cruise ship and I have no reason to doubt them.

The platform is part of the Ocean Casino–a new digital wagering experience that will let passengers keep the action going outside of the actual gaming area. It offers an assortment of casino games such as slots, blackjack, bingo, keno, lottery, etc. and now sports betting joins the fun.

Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, is pleased to add a sports betting option to their gaming portfolio:

“On Princess MedallionClass cruises our guests can stay connected with their friends and family around the world, and now with Ocean Sportsbook, they can also stay connected to their favorite teams and wager on a host of events whenever they sail with us. Taking a cruise vacation no longer means being disconnected from a big game, an iconic event or friends and family.”

The betting platform itself looks like a garden variety mobile betting interface but the most interesting component of the setup is under the hood. Minomi put together a satellite based messaging platform that enables live odds and results directly to the ship:

The firm has architected a messaging platform to be able to broadcast live odds over satellite directly to the ships, while its trading team will be trading pregame and future wagers. Sports data and content provider Sportradar has also played an instrumental role in the process, integrating its new Unified Odds Service for in-play wagering. 

Ocean Sportsbook, unveiled today by the cruise firm, introduces a new, real-time sports wagering option onboard its MedallionClass ships. It will give guests the opportunity to bet on major sports competitions like professional and college football, basketball, baseball and hockey as well as a wide variety of other domestic and international events.

Miomni Gaming CEO Mike Venner is rightfully proud of the unique technology his company has employed on the ships:

“We are very proud to be working with a great partner and trusted global brand Carnival Cruises, who really understand the benefits of working with cutting edge technology. This partnership has again proven the flexibility and scalability of the Miomni platform. This industry-first sports betting solution has only been possible due to the lightweight architecture, built in geolocation and Miomni’s advanced hub and spoke messaging technology.”

There’s all sorts of technological wizardry available on board the Princess MedallionClass ships:

Princess MedallionClass vacations are enabled by the award-winning OceanMedallionTM, a wearable device that elevates the guest experience and delivers a high level of service and personalized attention on a large scale, and also features elite level bandwidth with MedallionNet powered by SES, allowing for enhanced connected experiences like Ocean Sportsbook.

In addition to anywhere wagering, Princess MedallionClass Vacations are also marked by touchless embarkation and disembarkation, frictionless commerce, and keyless stateroom entry. Additional contactless capabilities accessible using smart phones and tablets, include shipboard on-demand service delivery; way-finding; family and friends locator; first-run movies and live TV; an interactive events and activities planner; and interactive fun.

John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation, explains the highly connected offerings on board:

“A fully-connected guest experience now goes well beyond a superior Wi-Fi position, and Ocean Sportsbook reinforces the unparalleled position MedallionClass enjoys in the industry. Wagering is now seamlessly fused into the overall guest experience in both digital and physical interactions all powered by the OCEAN Guest Experience Platform.”

Currently, Princess Cruises has extended their pause of guest cruise vacations through May 14, 2021. Given the slow ramp up of COVID-19 vaccinations it could be well past that before they’re able to start sailing again.

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