by Melissa LaScaleia
The Big “M” Casino first arrived in South Carolina in 2008. The casino consists of two luxury yachts that dock in Little River’s harbor. Aboard the three-story ship, patrons enjoy food, spectacular ocean views, camaraderie, and Vegas-style gaming.
Land-based casinos are still illegal in South Carolina, so the boats carry customers to international waters, three miles offshore, where gambling is permitted.
Twice a day, at 11am and 6pm, patrons board the The Big “M” Casino boat for the 45-minute ride out to sea where they can try their luck at slot machines as well as table games like blackjack, roulette, let it ride, and three card poker.
“We are the only casino boat in the Carolinas,” says Eda Ekincigil, marketing coordinator for The Big “M” Casino. “It’s a unique experience here. It’s fun and different. Some people come just to enjoy a nice sunset cruise or time with their friends. You don’t need to play to be onboard.”
The first floor of the boat houses the main casino; the dining room and slot machines are located on the second; and the third level is the partially enclosed deck. The boat is non-smoking except for the outdoor deck areas and the third level.
The Big “M” has capacity for 450 people. Those aboard have three hours of playing time before the casino closes and the boat returns to Little River.
The casino pays out an average of $383,000 in winnings per week.
The Big “M” offers many promotions. Those with a current military ID can board for free, and receive a buy one get one free meal voucher with soup and sandwich options. Every Thursday is Senior Day, with free boarding for everyone 55 years of age and up. Ladies Night is on Fridays, with free boarding for ladies. No matter the promotion, everyone is required to pay the $10 port tax.
You can also receive a Players Club card for free on your first visit which entitles you to a successive boarding for $10, no matter the time of day.
Coupons for The Big “M” can be found amongst area publications, as well as on their website. Check their website for their most current list of promotions, offerings, and sailing days and times.