A Casino Ship Sinks in the Atlantic Ocean to Form an Artificial Reef

A former casino ship that offered table games and slot machines will forever settle at the Atlantic Ocean's bottom. The Texas Star ship started sinking towards the Redbird Reef on June 29. It was used for several years in betting excursions near the coast of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico.

Delaware's Department of National Resources and Environmental Control (NDREC) supervised the Texas Star's sinking last week. The 180-foot-long boat was constructed in 1977 and has a 45-year history. Besides, it was initially used as a floating casino before it was recently transformed for commercial scalloping.

The Texas Star partially forms the Redbird Reef on Delaware. This is an artificial structure that will promote marine life underwater. The casino ship sank 86 feet deep and about 16.5 miles from the Delaware coast.

The Redbird Reef consists of former New York City "Redbird" subway cars, and it covers 1.3 square miles on the ocean floor. Shawn Garvin, DNREC's secretary, stated that the Texas Star's sinking on the reef will offer a better diving and fishing experience in the state.

Redbird Reef is among the 14 reef sites along the Atlantic Coast and in Delaware Bay. Garvin added that they sank Twin Capes in 2018, and it was vital for Delaware's artificial reef system.

The ship is unmatched as it offers a unique dive and fish habitat, as its five decks are ideal for underwater exploration. The secretary stated that divers and anglers will have a new exciting destination in Delaware.

The Casino Finally Retires

The Texas Star has joined 714 subway cars and other many former commercial ships in the Redbird Reef. Even so, rumors claim that it was the first ship that was used as a casino gambling venue to be sunk at the reef. It often sailed and docked from Freeport, Texas, when it was a floating casino.

The ship's daily betting excursions enabled passengers to try their luck once it reached international waters where Texas' law that banned commercial casino betting didn't apply. The Texas Star was launched in 1977 as Europe Star and served as a betting ship for 28 years, according to legitimate ship records.

Its ownership changed thrice, and it had three rebrandings. The ship ran as Europa Star up to July 2001; it rebranded to Stardancer V up to 2003, Millionaire's Casino up to 2004, and the Texas Star Casino up to May 2005. It retained the Texas Star name after halting gambling operations and dropped "Casino" after venturing into scalloping.

More About Maritime Laws

The Legal Information Institute from the Cornell Law School says that maritime law or admiralty law is a regulation that governs shipping and navigation.

Maritime law stated that a boat's owner can decide if gambling is allowed once their ship is 12 nautical miles or more offshore from the U.S. Yet, the Texas Star placed cards for table games and activated onboard slots once it was 12 miles from Freeport.

The International Council of Cruise Lines loosely regulates international gaming. But, casino cruises often have tight slots. Mark Pilarski, a gaming expert, claimed that cruise ships lack competition on open water as they know that holidaymakers' pockets are full.


A sports enthusiast, Ryan helps cover sports betting news from around the country, highlighting some of the more interesting events going on in the USA.