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Gambling Takes To The Skies

America's Las Vegas Sands Corporation has purchased two airplanes and is retrofitting them to serve as private jets ferrying high-rollers from Hong Kong to the company's two Nevada casinos.

The two Lockheed L-1011 TriStar wide-body planes will also be fitted with high-limit baccarat tables for passengers to play during the 14-hour flight from Asia.

‘In a nutshell, we plan to offer patrons travelling to or from The Venetian from Hong Kong the opportunity to play table games only and on credit only with no cash play on an L-1011 outfitted with table games and a surveillance booth and digital surveillance equipment while the aircraft is in international air space over international waters,’ said Frederick Kraus, Vice-President and General Counsel for Las Vegas Sands.

According to a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there were no safety issues prohibiting gambling while in flight with the Nevada Gaming Control Board stating that there was nothing in the State's laws halting the activity.

‘It looks like the law doesn’t address any gaming tax provisions,’ said Dennis Neilander, Chairman for the Control Board.

‘There are some references for income tax and any wins by a customer might have to be recognised for income tax matters. There may also be some corporate taxes involved.’

Gambling on private aircraft is viewed as similar to cruise ships and the casino may only be open while the craft is in international waters. The company has already filed a Foreign Gaming Notification Statement with the Control Board stating that it planed to conduct foreign gaming in international waters over global airspace.