Is the Airline Industry Ready for In-Flight Gambling?

Is the Airline Industry Ready for In-Flight Gambling?

Posted on 05/02/13 - by Theodor Mavrodis News

If a few French companies have their way, your next flight might offer up the chance for some blackjack action and complimentary cocktails just like you’d experience at the tables in Las Vegas.

AirJet Designs and Frédérique Houssard (the founder of design agency Designescence) have unveiled designs for a new concept called Casino Jet Lounge which includes a blackjack table -- complete with a dealer -- as well as high-end lounge chairs and a cocktail bar.

The Casino Jet Lounge would have its own dedicated space on certain planes and offer a very unique twist on the concept of in-flight entertainment.

"We're trying to bring back the glamor of the '50s and '60s a little bit; the kind you see in the James Bond movies," says Houssard.

So far no airlines have anted up to try the idea and it may be a tough pitch. Not only is space extremely limited on many flights but past attempts to introduce gambling on airplanes haven’t been met with much success.

Singapore Airlines briefly offered slot machines on some flights from Singapore to San Francisco in the 1980s. Swissair offered poker, keno, blackjack and other games via its in-flight entertainment system on some of its flights in the 1990s.

Ryanair passengers can buy scratch tickets on most flights and the airline has hinted that it’d like to offer online gambling via WiFi on some flights.

So far the cost has been prohibitive as far as offering both gambling games and WiFi on its low-cost flights throughout Europe.

Online gambling would seem to be a natural fit for airlines but they’d also be competing with existing online gambling sites now that WiFi is becoming more commonplace on flights.

The potential profits that could be made from running their own gambling sites also are outweighed for many airlines by the potential legal complications -- especially for flights over countries where online gambling is illegal.