by: Alyana Gomez Updated:
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A new attraction is bringing new life to Mayport. There were cheers from the first passenger to board the Victory Casino cruise.
The ship travels 3 miles out to international waters and that's where all the fun begins: 17 table games, more than 300 slot machines and sports betting.
There's also live entertainment, food and free drinks if you play.
“It’s my husband’s and my anniversary. It's been 40 years that we've been together and married so when we got the call saying that the ship came in, here we are,” said passenger, Raye Santana.
The Victory has hired more than 200 people. Action News caught up with the first person who signed up. She believes this ship is exactly what Jacksonville needed.
“You can spend less money here but still have a great time and still get the feel of an actual live casino,” said employee Rachael Bedsole.
The company's CEO, Lester Bullock, said the cruise is still hiring, promising to fill local wallets and help the economy.
“A direct economic impact of approximately $12 million and a residual impact, you're probably looking at $30-40 million for our local economy,” said Bullock.
The ship's biggest draw may not be the poker, but rather partnerships.We found out Victory Casino Cruises is interested in placing its own bet on the St. Johns River Ferry to help keep it afloat.
“I would like to get my signage up on the ferry and work out a marketing and advertising agreement with the ferry,” said Bullock.
That ship hasn't sailed just yet but the plan is in motion, as is the latest gambling venture to set sail of our shores.
The ship makes two trips a day at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.