A lot of people around the world enjoy gambling. This is evident from the proliferation of Casinos around the world. Some destinations such as Las Vegas and Macau are known for being a gambling paradise.

Ancillary revenue – the money you pay for your seats, bags or on board meals for example – is now an extremely important revenue stream in the aviation industry. Gambling money could increase this so why isn’t it more common?

The Current State of On Board Gambling

There is virtually no gambling on board aircraft. The only thing I can think of off hand are the Ryanair scratchcards. These are €2 per card and a portion of the proceeds go to charity. This is the hook they use to gets people to buy the cards.

A little research shows that Swissair offered gambling up to $350 on their flights in the 1990s. Even earlier, Singapore Airlines put slot machines in the aisle as a test in 1981 for a couple of months. That didn’t work out.

Will Wi-Fi Change This?

Gambling could become more feasible the more aircraft are connected to the Internet. Conceivably airlines could operate their own online “flying Casino” and earn money in this manner.

Not all airlines could afford to have their own Casino so perhaps such a venture could be sold to multiple airlines. I think many people would pay to play the slots or go for a couple of rounds of Poker to wile away the long hours in the air.

Of course, the elephant in the room are the various different gambling rules around the world. This could restrict something like this, which may be why it is not happening right now.

Also there is the issue of patchy Wi-Fi coverage. I don’t think anyone would take kindly to being about to win something and then the aircraft flies into a dead zone. It’s a recipe for air rage!

Overall Thoughts

When all is said and done, people can get their fix using gambling sites on the Internet if there is Wi-Fi. However from the perspective of increasing ancillary revenue it seems there is an opportunity waiting. While I am not a gambler, I would certainly give it a look and pay a few bucks to see what it’s like.

What do you think? Is it something that would be worthwhile or is the fact it does not happen mean the market doesn’t want it? Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Michał Parzuchowski and second image by John Schnobrich via Unspash.
Historical information from “Gambling on airplanes, stalled at takeoff?” by Daisy Carrington for CNN.