The A380 could be adopted as the platform for an airborne casino within five years, after it emerged that Airbus has begun preliminary talks with an undisclosed business looking to acquire one to use as a flying betting house. An Airbus source says a lot of interest is coming from casino operators in Macau, which rivals Las Vegas as the gambling capital of the world.The Financial Times also notes this possibility of A380 casinos. What can I say? It's would be a Great Gig in the Sky:
Gambling is also thriving in other parts of Asia, including Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea, while Singapore is set to open its first casino resort next year, ending a 40-year ban. Casinos are outlawed in mainland China, but operators exploit strict laws there by providing gambling boat cruises out of cities such as Hong Kong into international waters.
The Airbus talks also follow a recent report that giant casino operator the Las Vegas Sands, which has operations in the USA and Macau, is hoping to launch VIP charter flights between Hong Kong and Las Vegas featuring baccarat tables.
Airbus is in talks with Asian buyers who plan to turn a A380 ‘superjumbo’ aircraft into an airborne casino. Francois Chazelle – leader of the executive and private aviation division has said that discussions are underway, and should the talks lead to an order, a fully fitted A380 casino could be delivered between 2012 and 2017. He commented that “This is clearly a growing business in Asia and what this interest reflects is what is happening in Macao and Singapore. The idea of a flying casino has been mentioned before but it’s now looking a lot more concrete.”
While Macao has recently overtaken Las Vegas as the world’s biggest gaming center, there are strict limitations, and in some places bans, on casinos in many other parts of Asia. Because of this many companies offer gambling cruises which take customers out into international waters to escape the bans.
Chazelle believes that while the legal loophole of being in international airspace was likely to be a major attraction for casino operators, the ability to offer ‘such an extraordinary activity’ to customers is also important. The Airbus A380 is the first aircraft to be suitable for a full casino operation.
Macao based gaming executives have expressed concern over regulation of gaming in international air spaces – commenting that such games would be un-taxed and un-regulated, and that the government may need to consider new laws to cover such services.