SunCruz and the Palm Beach Princess are two gambling ships that had been running out of Florida for a long time, but both have fallen on hard times in 2009. The latest bad news came on Monday when Sun Cruz’ parent company filed for bankruptcy.
Oceans Casino Cruises Inc., which is based in Dania Beach and is owned by Spiros Naos, filed for bankruptcy for the second time in five years. The company claims to have less than $10 million in assets and over $50 million in debt.
Naos bought SunCruz back in 2004 for $36.1 million in a bankruptcy court. Naos is the nephew of Gus Boulis, who founded SunCruz. Boulis was brutally murdered back in 2001 in Ft. Lauderdale. Lobbyists Jack Abramoff led a group to buy SunCruz from Boulis back in 2000.
The Palm Beach Princess, another of the casino ships that sailed out of Florida, has had a similar fate to that of SunCruz. This past weekend, employees revolted and would not operate the Princess. It caused 300 customers to be sent home, and around a dozen senior employees were fired after the stunt.
The casino gambling ship industry has fallen on hard times in Florida mainly because of an increase in competition. Pari-mutuels started offering slots and poker, and the Seminoles are now offering blackjack at their casinos.
Back when the gambling ships became popular, there was no gambling outlets in South Florida. With the increase in casinos in the southern part of the state, there has been no market for the gambling ships.