Jupiters Casino a "three-star property" that needs refurbishment: Gold Coast mayor

Echo Entertainment’s Jupiters Casino on Broadbeach on the Gold Coast is in urgent need of refurbishment, according to Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate.

Speaking at a Property Council of Australia lunch this week, Tate labelled the casino a "three-star property” that did not represent the city well enough, in a speech reported by the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Echo Entertainment earmarked refurbishments to its Queensland casinos – Jupiters and Treasury in Brisbane - with a $625 million program in December 2010 that would transform them into “world class entertainment destinations” with plans to build two new hotels over the next five years.

But Tate said people preferred to fly to the recently revamped Echo-owned The Star casino in Sydney or go to James Packer’s Crown Casino in Melbourne.

At the lunch News Ltd ppaers noted he repeated a talk with he had earlier in the year Echo CEO John Redmond telling him if they did not spend money, Jupiters would be left behind.

"Then I said, 'If you don't like hearing the truth, we won't have dessert together,’ said Tate.

He called on Echo to fast-track a $350 million redevelopment of the casino, as promised in December 2010.

Echo is currently embroiled in a battle with James Packer over casino rights in Brisbane and Sydney.

Echo has sole casino rights in the two cities, but Packer is seeking the state government approval to build a casino at Barangaroo.

Echo is seeking to expand the Star and extend the period of its exclusive casino licence beyond 2019 - but only one project will receive approval according NSW premier Barry O'Farrell.

If Echo wins its battle with Crown, it plans to build a new casino in Brisbane, which would further delay plans to refurbish Jupiters.

Jupiters Hotel and Casino managing director Aaron Gomes said development of both Brisbane and Jupiters was dependent on the “whim of the state government”.

Echo’s February half-year results to December 31 reveal “weakness across its Queensland properties” which offset the strong performance of The Star casino.

Echo blamed this on a “softer consumer environment” in Queensland.

The results also reveal developing a new casino in Brisbane is a key priority.

“Queensland properties unlikely to fully realise underlying potential of markets until investment is made – clarity on Treasury Brisbane relocation remains first priority,” say the results.

They also reveal that discussion with the Queensland government “over potential investment in Brisbane and Gold Coast” are continuing.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer


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