'Aquasino' enjoys smooth sailing


August 6, 2013
By Kait Taylor/The Daily Item

Aquasino owner Lisa Walsh said it was her family who took the biggest gamble of them all when they purchased Lynn’s latest casino boat.
“It’s a little big for a family business,” said Walsh, who owns the business with husband Jim.
The family had been in the fishing industry for decades, but they were in new territory when they bought the 600-guest multi-deck vessel with a buffet and grill, four bars, 250 slot machines, and a full room of card tables with cashiers on every floor.
But more than six weeks after a nightmarish first voyage when the casino’s generators malfunctioned and slot machines were putting out extra money, Lisa Walsh said it’s been smooth sailing.

Aquasino owners Lisa and Jim Walsh pose for a photo on board the boat on Tuesday, July 23.
Aquasino owners Lisa and Jim Walsh pose for a photo on board the boat on Tuesday, July 23. Angela Owens / Item Photo

“It’s been really good,” she said. “We worked out the kinks with the machines and generators, and now everything has been running smoothly.”

Going from working a small fishing boat to working seven days a week and managing over 100 employees was a bit of a learning curve, the Walshes agree, but despite the rough start, the family learned quickly. Jim Walsh, captain of the ship, said, “I guess we’ve taken on a large task here, but we roll with it.”

Lisa Walsh said the whole experience has been “fun and challenging,” meeting customers from all walks who have been crossing state lines to board the Aquasino. As a former spa manager, Lisa Walsh said it’s the customer service aspect of the job that she enjoys most. “So many nice customers just want to help us succeed, root for us,” she said.
In the short time it’s been in business, Lisa Walsh said Aquasino already has steady regulars, averaging 300 guests per trip Wednesday through Sunday. “People on this boat know gambling,” she said. “You learn a lot, trust me.”
The Walshes said they’ve had “lots of big winners.”

Jim Walsh said the boat pays out between $6,000 to $8,000 to winners on weekdays, and $15,000 on Friday and Saturday nights. “You can hear the excitement in the air when someone is winning big,” said Lisa Walsh, her eyes lighting up. “Everyone rushes to try to put money in to get a jackpot. The thrill of excitement when they hear the machines clinging and clanging is a rush.”

Lisa Walsh said she has yet to see a customer leave visibly disappointed from a loss. Since most customers are experienced gamblers, they plan how much to play, and when they’re done playing the odds they can enjoy themselves on the observation deck with a drink from the bar and food from the grill.

The Walshes said it’s not just about keeping their customers cared for, but indirectly, the city of Lynn. Both Lynn natives, the pair said they’re hoping Aquasino helps improve the city’s economy by serving and employing city residents. Lisa noted 80 of the boat’s 150 employees are from Lynn, “It’s a beautiful coastline, but there’s not much being done with it,” she said, to which her husband responded, “But we’re trying.”

For more information on the Aquasino, go to www.aquasinoboston.com.

Kait Taylor can be reached at ktaylor@itemlive.com.

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