Long before the online gambling revolution and even before the boost of tribal casinos, a casino cruise was the only legal way to gamble in the US besides Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos. Nowadays, gambling on a riverboat casino is only one of the many options that the recreational gambler faces when he feels like shooting dice.
The history of casino cruises and riverboat casinos in the United States goes back to the beginning of the 19th century when the Mississippi River was a major trade center for farmers and merchants. The river towns became major attraction for professional gamblers, also known as cardsharps, who were hunting the travelers who used to carry large amounts of cash with them.
When five cardsharps were lynched in Mississippi in 1835, the professional gamblers drove away from the south. The fashion of riverboat gambling remained as an informal routine between travelers. The two decades before the Civil War saw the pick of luxurious riverboat casino gambling.
The public image of the average riverboat gambler has changed a lot in the last century. If during the 19th century riverboat gambling was part of the frontier lifestyle, nowadays, a casino cruise is something you would buy for your grandparents anniversary.
The first State to legalize casino riverboats was Iowa in 1989. Now, riverboat casinos are legalized in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina and Texas. In some states, the casino riverboats actually sail along the sea, while others are anchored permanently and never leave the dock. The second type of riverboat casinos enable recreational gamblers to simply hop on a nearby casino and play their favorite casino game for a few hours.
The types of casino games available in riverboat casinos vary from one state to another. You can usually play slot machines and classic table games such as blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, etc. Some of the riverboat casinos also have poker rooms where passengers can play Texas Holdem against each other. Most of the casino cruises are family oriented and offer other activities besides gambling such as live entertainment for children.
If you are planning to take part in a casino cruise, you do not have to worry about cardsharps or a tough competition around the poker table. Most of the people who join a casino cruise are recreational gamblers who appreciate a good game of craps in between fine dining and sun tanning on the dock. In addition, you would enjoy a much nicer and patient service from the casino dealers and employees than in an average Las Vegas casino.
If spending a weekend on a riverboat casino is too much for you, you can try some of Florida daily casino cruises. If you take Sterling Casino Lines cruise, for example, you can leave at 11 am and be back by 18 pm. Sterling Casino Lines cruises take place on a 75,000 square feet gambling area with more than 1,000 slot machines and 50 table games.