From Controversy to Icon: When Was the Wrest Point Casino Built?

From Controversy to Icon: When Was the Wrest Point Casino Built?
From Controversy to Icon: When Was the Wrest Point Casino Built?

Wrest Point Hotel Casino is a historic landmark of the gambling industry, as it was Australia’s first legal casino to open in the country in 1973. Located in Hobart, Tasmania, the casino complex includes a luxury hotel, restaurants, bars, and conference facilities, attracting thousands of visitors annually.

However, the construction of Wrest Point Casino was not without controversy, as it sparked a heated debate about the social and economic impact of gambling and the role of government in regulating it. In this article, we will explore the history of the casino in question, its impact on Tasmania and Australia in general, and the controversies surrounding this establishment.

Early Years of the Casino

Before it was built, there were a lot of disagreements and arguments about Wrest Point for more than ten years. In 1968, the Federal Group, Australia’s oldest hotel group, proposed the construction of a casino in Hobart to the Tasmanian government. The public and politicians met this opposition fiercely because they were concerned about the social impact of gambling and were afraid that it would shade Tasmania’s reputation.

Despite this opposition, the government eventually granted the Federal Group a casino licence in 1973, under the condition that it would be built outside the city centre and that its design would be aesthetically pleasing. The Federal Group hired a team of architects to design the casino, which included a luxury hotel, conference facilities, and a variety of entertainment venues.

It opened its doors to the public on February 10, 1973, becoming the first lawful casino in Australia. The crowd met the opening with mixed reactions, with some welcoming the economic benefits of the casino’s operation, while others opposed gambling.

Construction of the Casino

Building this casino had some difficulties. One challenge was the limited materials available as there was a lot of building happening in Tasmania at the time. The location near the River Derwent also made building harder, as they needed special techniques to keep the building stable.

But, despite these difficulties, the casino finally opened. It was the first lawful casino in Australia with 74 poker machines, 12 gaming tables, 2 bars, a restaurant, and other entertainment facilities. This was a big moment in the history of Australian casinos and started a new era for the country’s gaming industry.

Casino Opening

Many high-profile individuals, including the Tasmanian Premier and other government officials attended the casino’s grand opening. The casino’s initial reception was mixed, with some people expressing concerns about the potential negative effects of gambling on the community. However, others were excited about the new entertainment venue and the economic benefits it could bring to the area.

In its early years of operation, Wrest Point Hotel Casino quickly became a popular destination for both locals and tourists, offering a range of gaming options, as well as restaurants, bars, and other entertainment facilities. The casino continued to expand and grow over the years, adding more gaming machines, table games, and new hotel accommodations and other amenities.

Despite initial controversy and mixed reception, the casino became an iconic landmark in Australia’s gambling history, paving the way for the development of other casinos across the country.

Evolution of the Casino Through Years

After its opening, the casino continued to evolve and expand. In 1984, it underwent a significant renovation, including a new gaming area, a shopping arcade, and a five-star hotel. This expansion cemented Wrest Point’s position as a premier entertainment destination in Australia.

The casino suffered several additional renovations and upgrades in the following years, including new gaming areas, restaurants, bars, and a conference centre. In 2015, the casino completed a major renovation of its iconic tower, which included refurbishing all rooms and suites and adding new luxury rooms and a new wellness centre.

Today, Wrest Point Hotel Casino remains a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering a wide range of gaming options, dining and entertainment facilities, as well as a luxury hotel and conference centre. The casino features over 650 poker machines, 23 table games, and a VIP gaming room. Additionally, the casino offers many dining options, including fine restaurants, casual eateries, and various bars and entertainment venues. Overall, this casino has continued to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of its customers, solidifying its position as an icon in the Australian gambling and entertainment industry.

Legacy and Impact on Tasmania

The construction of the casino was disputed when it was first proposed, but it has since become an iconic landmark in Tasmania and a major contributor to the state’s economy. It has created jobs and generated significant revenue for the local community. It has also helped to put Tasmania on the map as a tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. Additionally, the casino has supported many local charities and community organisations over the years, further approving its legacy as a positive force in Tasmania.

The Pros of Land-Based Casinos Over Online Websites

Here are some potential advantages of land-based casinos compared to online websites:

  1. Social Interaction: Players can meet and socialise with other people who share their interests, making it a more engaging and immersive experience than playing online.
  2. Atmosphere: Land-based casinos often offer an exciting and glamorous atmosphere that is hard to replicate online. From the bright lights and sounds of the slot machines to the energy and excitement of the gaming tables, the experience of being in a physical casino can be a thrill.
  3. Trust and Security: Some people may feel more secure and trusting in a land-based casino, as they can physically see the dealers and croupiers and know that the games are being run fairly. This can be a concern for some players worried about the fairness of online games.
  4. Payment Options: Brick and mortar casinos typically offer a wider range of payment options, including cash, credit/debit cards, and various electronic payment methods. This can be more convenient for players who prefer to use cash or may have difficulty with online payment methods.
  5. Instant Payouts: In a physical casino, players can receive their winnings immediately, which can be more satisfying than waiting for online payouts to be processed.


Wrest Point Casino has played a crucial role in the Australian gambling industry since its opening in 1973. Despite the initial disputes surrounding its establishment, the casino has become an iconic landmark and a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Its continued success can be attributed to its various renovations, expansions, and upgrades over the years, which have kept it modern and relevant. Today, the casino offers a wide range of gaming options, dining experiences, and entertainment facilities and continues to be a significant contributor to the world of Aussie casinos.

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John Smith
An engineer by degree and blogger by choice. Interested in writing the latest updates happening around the world. Loves to binge watch tv-series and movies.


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