May 16, 2024 4 min read


Cruise Line Gets in Hot Water after Casino Player Takes Own Life

The ship is owned and operated by P&O Australia, which was hosting an Elvis-themed cruise

An Australian man has taken his own life after accumulating debts in a cruise ship’s casino, Daily Mail reported. Safer gambling experts believe that Dixon’s suicide could have been prevented if the ship provider had provided adequate duty of care.

Shane Dixon, 50, jumped to his death as the ship approached Sydney. A father of three children, the man racked up a debt of AUD 4,000 in the shipboard casino. His family believes that the stress caused by the debt has led him to take his own life.

In an interview with Daily Mail Australia, Scott Dixon, Shane’s brother, said that the deceased man must have panicked.

His brain was probably going 100 miles an hour. He probably thought, “s***, I’ve done it again, I can’t afford it and I can’t ask mum for more money.“

Scott Dixon

Scott and the two men’s mother were aboard the Pacific Adventure together. The ship is owned and operated by P&O Australia, which was hosting an Elvis-themed cruise. Everything had been going well before Shane entered the shipboard casino.

Scott explained that his brother had been struggling financially for a while. The man had also been dealing with a broken marriage and the passing of their father and third brother. Scott believes that the casino might have incentivized Shane to play, taking advantage of his vulnerabilities.

The Casino Failed to Protect the Player

Australia’s Alliance for Gambling Reform weighed in on the matter. Carol Bennett, CEO of the organization, believes that Pacific Adventure has failed to provide Shane with sufficient duty of care. Bennett said that the fact that Pacific Adventure allowed something like that to happen is “really concerning.”

The rules that might apply on land no longer seem to apply and yet you would expect this cruise line would have some kind of duty of care to ensure that people are not plied with inducements, promotions and advertisements that are pushing them to gamble to extremely harmful levels.

Carol Bennett, CEO, Alliance for Gambling Reform

Since cruise ships operate casinos in international waters, they can bypass regional regulations and requirements. To make matters worse, some such ships’ gambling can be charged to their room bill, making it easier to overspend.

Bennett said that cruise ships should adopt at least some basic harm prevention measures, such as loss limits. If they don’t then governments would really need to address the matter, Bennett added.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform CEO added that problem gambling is a huge issue in Australia and is affecting millions of families.  

VIP Member Says P&O Cruises’ Casinos Are Predatory

An anonymous high-roller who is a member of P&O Cruises’ VIP casino program, tipped Daily Mail off that the cruise company uses “predatory” strategies to promote its gambling products. While the player said that he always plans his spending carefully, he added that many players, especially vulnerable ones, will not.

They are essentially offshore casinos that come and pick people up from shore and take them out to international waters to gamble. If you don’t have the means to pay and you have an issue, there is no one to stop you so you can rack up a large amount of debt.

P&O high-roller

A P&O spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia that the company prefers to refrain from commenting on this tragic event while a coroner’s investigation is carried out. The representative, however, reassured the news outlet that her company’s casinos have Responsible Conduct of Gaming Policies in place across all ships and take them very seriously. The spokesperson concluded that her team would cooperate with the investigation.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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