Posted on: September 2, 2022, 06:58h. 

Last updated on: September 2, 2022, 11:46h.

When the world’s largest cruise ship arrived in Barcelona, Spain recently, three passengers had their trip cut short. Spanish authorities arrested them for alleged cheating in the ship’s casino.

Wonder of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas cruise ship at sea. Police in Spain arrested three people when the ship arrived in Barcelona after allegations they cheated in the casino. (Image: Royal Caribbean)

Spain’s Civil Guard arrested two Brits and one Frenchman last month after Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas docked in Barcelona. They allegedly colluded in poker games in the casino. But staff quickly caught on.

As explained Thursday by Spanish authorities, the events took place while the ship was at sea. After the crew found out, they contacted Spanish police and had them waiting when the vessel docked.

Once a Scammer

In order to pull off their ruse, two of the three criminals sat together at the poker table as the third took the opposite end. The job of that third individual was to distract the dealer, allowing the other two to swap cards.

Agents of the Fiscal and Border Unit of the Civil Guard of Barcelona arrested the three alleged perpetrators on board. They charged them with fraud and seized €37K (US$36,918) in cash.

Police didn’t release the names of the fraudsters, but at least one was a repeat offender. After consulting various police databases, the Civil Guard determined that he had a police record dating from 2014 in the US for the commission of similar acts.

Hands on the Wheel

Distraction is a common method crooks use to try to confuse casino dealers. A few months ago, a couple from Mississippi scammed a Rivers Casino in Pennsylvania out of more than $10K with a similar scam.

Over two days, the pair worked their magic at the casino’s roulette table. One would already be at the table when the other approached and distract the dealer. As the ball settled in a pocket, and after receiving a signal from the first partner, the second placed a bet.

The dealer accepted, not knowing the ball had dropped. The scam wasn’t 100% successful, but worked often enough for the pair to pocket easy money.

The two fooled the dealer a couple of times, but not the casino. Thousands of surveillance cameras and decades of experience make scams like these hard to pull off. The criminal conspirators are awaiting trial on charges of deception, conspiracy, and perpetrating fraudulent schemes while gaming.

Floating City

Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas is the world’s largest cruise ship and the first of its kind, with eight “neighborhoods.” The vessel weighs 236,857 tons, has 18 decks, and can accommodate more than 6,000 people in 2,867 cabins.

The ship offers rooms as varied as the “Ultimate Family Suite,” a two-story suite that can accommodate families of up to 10 people. This stateroom has its own slide, air hockey table, and table tennis on the balcony.

The Wonder of the Seas has 20 restaurants and 11 bars, including one with a country music band. One of the newest venues is the Bionic Bar, where two robots prepare cocktails and drinks, designed by passengers from a tablet.

Inside the ship, there’s a VIP casino, as well as theaters, conference centers, an outdoor movie screen, and four swimming pools. In addition, there are music events, nightclubs (which require the use of wireless headphones), and karaoke.

The ship also has a basketball court, surf pool, merry-go-round, and the tallest water slide ever installed on a cruise ship. It even has its own Starbucks and a “Central Park” with more than 20,000 live plants.