Guests at North Beach Plantation have a limited number of options when it comes to casino-style gambling: You can travel thousands of miles west to Las Vegas, hundreds of miles north to Atlantic City, or just three miles offshore into international waters.
While casino gambling is illegal on South Carolina soil, the Big M Casino sails out of nearby Little River six days a week, giving Grand Strand visitors and locals the opportunity to legally gamble in a fun and adventurous environment.
Departing from its docking station on the Little River waterfront, the massive, 186-foot yacht heads out to the high seas for approximately five hours of gaming fun and sightseeing. The ship also has a scenic rooftop observation deck with a restaurant bar. Guests can take a break from the action inside and enjoy the ocean view and fresh air.
After rival boat Sun Cruz Casino closed operations in the summer of 2014, Big M became the only outlet for legal gambling on the Grand Strand. It also offers a high-tech, state-of-the-art casino with a wide range of table games, slot machines and more.
Table games aboard the Big M include Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Let it Ride, Three-Card Poker and other dice games. Popular slot machines include Quick-Hit Platinum, Blazing 7s, Double Jackpot 7s and the Cash Spin and Cash Wheel slots. Big M also offers nickel slots and the famous Pot O' Gold slots with huge slot jackpots.
Big M offers huge slot payouts and bonuses for Big M Casino Players Club members, which passengers can join for a small fee as they enter the ship. Earn bonus play by inserting your card in the machine before you begin play, then turn it into the attendant at the cage when you are through. Bonuses pay $5 for every 500 points earned.
Big M Players Club cards also work at table games, where players present their cards to the dealer or attendant and acquire bonuses for the length of time they play. Players are treated to cocktail service while they are in the game and the friendly and helpful dealers help keep the action going while also bringing some fun to the table.
Big M Casino also offers a massive buffet on all of its voyages that passengers have the option to purchase for the reasonable price of $13. The early cruises put out a spread of fresh fruit, seafood and brunch items, while the evening cruises feature prime rib and seafood options. The late-night cruises have a $10 munchie buffet.
Guests also can relax on the top deck with drinks and friends, both the ones you came with and the new ones you will meet on the cruise. It takes about 45 minutes to get to international waters and the gaming sign is turned on, so relax and take in the scenery during the ride out to sea and take photos as the sun go down on the evening cruises.
Big M Casino's daytime cruises sail out at 11 a.m. and return at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays (11:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The evening cruises depart at 6:45 p.m. and return around midnight, giving passengers about four hours of live gaming. There are no Monday cruises. There is a $25 boarding fee per passenger and reservations are available but not required.
Big M offers various nightly promotions, such as Senior Day Tuesdays (free boarding for senior citizens), Bingo Wednesdays, VIP Jackpot Bonuses on Thursdays and Saturdays and live entertainment on Fridays and Sundays. Check out the Christmas and New Year’s parties aboard the Big M this holiday season.
(Photo Courtesy: fortmeyers-sanibel.com)