Florida Ships Raided

Tuesday, September 07, 1999
Owners and operators of six South Florida casino ships were charged with violating Florida gaming laws. Civil complaints were filed against the operators of three SunCruz casino vessels in Hollyood, Riviera Beach and Key Largo; New SeaEscape, which sails out of Port Everglades; Monte Carlo, of Pompano Beach and Palm Beach Princess, which sails from Riviera Beach. Additionally, all the ships but Palm Beach Princess were charged with allowing gambling within Florida's territorial waters (which is prohibited less than three miles offshore). Additionally, all the ships but Monte Carlo were charged with unlawful sports bookmaking, allegedly taking bets on sporting events that would take place days later. Wagers are only permitted on sporting events that end before the gambling cruise is completed. Following the raid, Coastal Gaming Group Inc., filed suit against Boca Casino Cruises, operator of Monte Carlo, seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Coastal says adverse publicity associated with the seizure, forced it to enter into a settlement with Florida, and pay in excess of $200,000. Coastal, which provides casino management, consulting and operating services to cruise ships, claims the ship's operator is solely responsible for determining the location of the ship and the timing for opening and closing the casino.

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