Cruise Ship Gambler Who Jumped Ship Racked Up Onboard Casino Debts 

An Australian man jumped to his death earlier this month from a P&O cruise ship outside Sydney Harbor. His family believes that the incident was related to AU$9000 (US$6,000) in gambling debts he accrued at the onboard casino. 

50-year-old Shane Dixon jumped overboard from the Pacific Adventure cruise ship (pictured) on May 6, as it was about 10 miles outside of Sydney. 

Dixon had been on the P&O Australia cruise for three nights. During that time, he lost AU$5000 at the ship’s casino, borrowed AU$4000 to cover the loss from his mother, and then gambled that, too.

He then took his own life as the cruise was returning to port. Local media suggest that Dixon had been going through financial troubles and a series of family bereavements before the cruise. 

Dixon’s family say that complimentary alcohol for gamblers and staff encouragement to return after a losing session contributed to his death. 

“They use all these incentives to tell people, ‘Come back, come back,’” Shane’s brother, Scott Dixon, said. 

“It is terrible. It is wrong. Local pubs limit patrons, why not casinos?”

The Incident

Dixon boarded the Elvis-themed cruise with his mother, Susan Dixon, on May 3. 

His mother had saved up her retirement income to afford the trip for the two of them. Shane had recently been going through financial troubles, a difficult breakup with his wife, and the loss of his father and one of his brothers.

The cruise was supposed to be a reset and time to forget about their troubles. But for Shane, the lure of the onboard casino as a way to fix his financial woes was too much. 

On the first night of the cruise, Shane lost $4,000. On cruises in international waters, gamblers are often allowed to put gambling spend on their room charge bill – so essentially, free credit. There are also often little or no checks on whether or not a customer can actually afford what they are gambling. 

Dixon sought out his mother and confessed to his losses. She offered to cover them, and the two prepared to put it behind them. However, the next day Shane was back at the onboard casino. 

His family say he was encouraged by a AU$500 voucher for free casino play given to him after his first nights losses, accompanied by the offer of a free future cruise. He lost the AU$500 free chips and put down AU$5000 more over the evening, which he also lost. 

The next morning, at around 4 a.m. local time, Dixon jumped overboard.

P&O Cruises, owned by Carnival Corporation, told media outlets it would not be appropriate for them to issue a full statement at this time. 

© Copyright 2024 -