Casino component is a vexed question for decision-makers but finding and developing the right location is a non-negotiable
Our one shot at an integrated resort needs to be a bullseye
TO casino or not to casino, that is the question.
I might have stolen that line from Will.
See we have one, so do we need/require another in the fabulous sun-drenched tourism capital of Australia? I speak of our home, the Gold Coast.
I’m agnostic on this vexing question right now. Don’t get me wrong – I care, no, make that really care.
Now any local identifies that for a long time Jupiters, now Star, was a pretty average joint. However full credit to them – over the past three years it has been spruced up, enhanced and made into a great destination hotel and facility. They have added great additions like the Darling Hotel, Sports Bar, the Garden Bar and several excellent restaurants like Nineteen – superb job, no question. So big civic tick to Star.
It is now, as one would expect, attracting a strong take-up in both domestic and international tourism. A win for them and a big win for our city.
So courtesy of the State Government we are now in an open debate about, do we have a second casino centred around a fully integrated resort?
Wow – that is a really good question.
Alas I don’t have the definitive answer – but let me throw a few thoughts/ideas out there to add to the debate. Some people with some weird and crazy ideas are already in this debate I might add. Seriously, what are you smoking?
There is no question that the GC needs a new and major tourism piece of infrastructure to ensure we keep the visitors coming/ growing and ensure we stay front of centre in any tourism mindset. I doubt anyone would argue that.
So, considering that, a new major fully integrated resort makes lots of sense. Big tick to the State Government and the GC Council on that consideration.
A few must-haves:
It needs to be on or very near our spectacular waterways/beaches – because that is certainly what a lot of tourists now demand.
It needs to be world class and have a high standard with hopefully a marquee or a strong global “attached” brand.
It needs to break new ground as an attraction in its own right. In other words – it must have the WOW factor!
One of my lucky roles in my life is I have had the pleasure (sometimes not) of travelling the world – so I have played working tourist nearly everywhere, and for a very long time.
So, some of the brands and some of the suggestions of what they might or might not bring to the Coast is complete and utter rubbish.
My suggestion to those making these critical decisions is to stop looking at a brochure and go and experience these offerings first hand. Some of the casino operators for example have some seriously average properties. That we certainly don’t need. The only thing average about the Gold Coast is the M1!
Does it need a casino at its core? I don’t know, maybe. But let’s consider all options, not just lock in on the casino as a must-have element.
In other words, let’s keep our options open to any courageous concept of this fully integrated resort. There are major integrated resorts in the world that do not revolve around a casino.
As I said at the outset – I’m agnostic here, I don’t mind if it does have a casino at its core, but equally let’s not smash the existing GC casino or the numerous clubs who also play and have played a big part in the fabric of our great city. So, it’s a big, delicate decision.
Equally let’s have some healthy honest debate about the location.
As I understand it, five have been suggested. A couple of those fall into the TC category of: You are going to build a world-class integrated resort where? Stop it, you’re killing me. Such stupidity, are you a clown?
Major resorts are all about location, location, location. Get that component right in a stunning setting and you are half way there.
Get it wrong (Scarborough St?) and it’s born dead before it even calls first round of drinks.
Now on this subject we are lucky, because the responsible overall State Minister is one of the most capable politicians, not only in the State but in Australia – full stop. Kate Jones is a terrific politician, clear thinker, visionary and truly invested in the Gold Coast.
So, I have great hope that her overall guidance here will land on the right conclusion. No pressure Kate.
We get one chance at this and I’m sorry, but we need to absolutely make it a billiondollar bullseye! We need all the smart people in the room and we need to get the clowns and non-visionaries to clear the room on this critical Gold Coast once-in20-year decision.
LET’S KEEP OUR OPTIONS OPEN TO ANY COURAGEOUS CONCEPT OF THIS FULLY INTEGRATED RESORT.