I just got back from a cruise to Cozumel and I do not understand why the cruise lines do not offer better paying games in their casinos. Their video poker games are horrible (6/5 Jacks or Better) and their blackjack rules are not much better.
A 6/5 video poker machine means you get paid 6 coins per coin bet for a full house, and 5 coins per coin bet for a flush. A good video poker machine should pay 9 coins for a full house and 6 for a flush. They offered a single deck blackjack game but the blackjack payout was 6: 5 instead of the traditional 3: 2 which gives the casino an extra advantage. I guess they've taken the stance that the higher their advantage, the more money they put in their pockets. That is theoretically true, but that philosophy often backfires.
While on board I would frequent the casino to take a look around. I noticed virtually no one was betting any significant money and it was never really that crowded considering the size and number of people on board. Most Blackjack bets were $ 5- $ 10 and many slot players were legally betting a penny on the penny slots. The video poker machines were pretty much empty for most of the trip.
I've been on several cruises on different cruise lines over the past few years, and each time I had similar experiences in the casinos. This is not an isolated situation, it is widespread.
What cruise lines fail to realize is that they have scared off any real gamblers by offering such poor payback games. It is common knowledge that the casinos on cruises heavily favor the "house." Therefore, people who really like to gamble either stay away from going on cruises or if they go they do not gamble, myself included.
Going on a cruise is a luxury not everyone can afford, so obviously most people on board are financially well of. The money is there but from what I've witnessed, it's not being used in the casino.
In my opinion, if they would offer some 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker machines and more favorable rules for blackjack it would encourage more people to gamble and to gamble at higher stakes. There are several other things that could have improved the casinos as well. I saw they have started offering comps. This is a good start, but until their selection improves I do not think people will go on a cruise to gamble.