Shane Dixon's mum treated him to a three-day Elvis-themed P&O cruise to put a smile back on his face. Then he discovered the luxury liner's casino - now his family have buried him

Shane Dixon, 45, died after racking up a cruise casino debtHe has been remembered as a country music loverFor confidential support 24/7 call Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 READ MORE: Dad-of-three plunges to his death from luxury cruise liner after running up an eye-watering debt on the ship's casino tables - as insider reveals how high rollers are lured to gamble off Australia's shores

A Sydney father-of-three who racked up a huge gambling bill and fell to his death from a P&O Cruise ship has been remembered at a touching funeral attended by scores of friends and family.

Shane Dixon, 45, died after falling overboard while sailing on an Elvis-themed cruise ship Pacific Adventure just after 4am on May 6 as it approached Sydney Harbour.

The truck driver, from Campbelltown in Sydney's west, had been on the three-day cruise with his mother Sue Dixon, 66, who had saved up to book the trip as a holiday treat for the pair.

But he plunged to his death as the luxury P&O liner Pacific Adventure approached Sydney Harbour, after he racked up $9,000 in gambling losses over two nights at the cruise ship's onboard casino.

On Thursday, about a hundred mourners packed Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Camden to say goodbye, with heartbroken friends and family paying tribute following his tragic death.

During the service a ceremonial casket sat upon the altar with a decorative RM Williams flag and floral arrangement alongside a framed photo of Shane.

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Shane Dixon is pictured with his mother Sue Dixon - who saved up to take them on the ship

Shane Dixon is pictured with his mother Sue Dixon - who saved up to take them on the ship

Shane Dixon, 45, plunged to his death from the P&O cruise ship Pacific Adventure just after 4am on May 6 as it approached Sydney Harbour

Shane Dixon, 45, plunged to his death from the P&O cruise ship Pacific Adventure just after 4am on May 6 as it approached Sydney Harbour

During the service a ceremonial casket sat upon the altar with a decorative RM Williams flag and floral arrangement alongside a framed photo of Shane

During the service a ceremonial casket sat upon the altar with a decorative RM Williams flag and floral arrangement alongside a framed photo of Shane

A number of motorbike enthusiasts joined the crowd of mourners, along with a ceremonial Harley Davidson escort for the man known as a 'charismatic country music lover'.

A family speaker noted Shane's struggles with mental health and how he was estranged from his three children who were not identified during the brief service.

He was the eldest of Wilber and Lynn's five children, mourners heard and attended Thomas Acres public school and Thomas Riddell High School.

‘Let's just say he didn't have a passion for learning,’ a celebrant said. ‘He was also known to his teachers as the class clown.’

According to those close to the family, Shane’s playful nature can be summed-up by one of his favourite songs 'The Wombat Wobble' which was rang out at the end of the moving service.

In an ode to his profession the truckers anthem 'Convoy' played during the slideshow which displayed photos from happier times.

The family remembered his love of the great outdoors and his life spread across multiple Australian states.

The celebrant added: 'He lived in South Australia for a while, which is where he welcomed his first child.

'Shane loved to go fishing and camping and he loved living in Darwin and just being in the country.'

Shane's brother Scott revealed his brother had been going through a tough time as he struggled financially.

He had also been grappling with a series of tragedies, including the breakdown of his marriage and deaths of their brother and father.

To let off some steam, Shane went to the cruise's casino on Friday and spent $5,000 as casino staff lavished him with free drinks, a $750 play voucher and a ticket for a future cruise.

Shane borrowed $5,000 from his mother to repay the debt, but returned to the casino the following night and amassed a further $4,000 bill as he tried to win back the previous night's losses.

Family fought back tears as the farewelled their 'beloved son, brother and uncle' Shane Di

Family fought back tears as the farewelled their 'beloved son, brother and uncle' Shane Dixon

Mourners gathered in Camden to farewell the charismatic country music lovero

Mourners gathered in Camden to farewell the charismatic country music lover

Mourners comforted one another after the brief service

Mourners comforted one another after the brief service

Scott believes Shane would have realised the gravity of his situation as the ship began to make its way back to Australian waters, where cruise casinos shut down.

Shane fell from the cruise just 10 nautical miles from Sydney Harbour.

His family have now blasted unethical practices used by cruise companies to incentivise gambling under 'international waters' guidelines - which would be considered illegal in Australia - which encouraged him to run up the huge debt.

Scott admitted P&O staff had show compassion towards his mother but insisted the company's casino policies are irresponsible.

In Australia, strict laws govern how gaming providers can advertise gambling. Promotions such as giving patrons free booze, gambling vouchers and prizes to encourage them to spend are all banned.

Pacific Adventure Cruise ship as it sails into Sydney Harbour hours after Mr Dixon plummeted overboard

Pacific Adventure Cruise ship as it sails into Sydney Harbour hours after Mr Dixon plummeted overboard

However, cruise ships that operate casinos in international waters can bypass these regulations - offering a lucrative loophole to the rules.

Punters also don't need to pay upfront and can put their splurge straight on to their room bill - making it easier to spend and harder to track.

Carnival, the parent company of P&O Cruises, responded to the allegations in a statement to Daily Mail Australia earlier this week.

'P&O Cruises Australia appreciates the feedback from guests,' said a spokesman.

'We have Responsible Gaming Conduct Policies on all P&O ships and take those policies seriously.

'We encourage any guest with concerns to get in contact with us so that we can investigate.'

For confidential support 24/7 call Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

For gambling support 24/7 call the National Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858

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