US casino and hospitality giant Hard Rock International is eyeing the Gold Coast as its next resort destination.
The gaming and hospitality company, based in Florida, has flagged its interest in the state’s holistic ‘Global Tourism Hub’ model for the Gold Coast.
Hard Rock indicated in a letter to the Queensland government that it was interested in creating a development aimed at providing a range of entertainment, with non-gambling facilities in place as well as a casino.
Tourism minister Kate Jones recently told the state estimates committee there would be no new poker machines in light of the government’s support for development of an integrated hotel and casino resort.
The Hard Rock development would double the region’s casino count, with The Star Gold Coast (previously Jupiters Hotel and Casino) the only casino currently operating on the strip.
The Star is undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion that will see a 17-story hotel tower added to its attractions.
A $3 billion project to construct an integrated resort on the Southport Spit was rejected by the state government last year following a concerted campaign by residents and environmentalists concerned about its impact on the area.
“There are big issues when it comes to transport and the building of high rise buildings … the traffic solution on this beautiful part of the Gold Coast would involve something of an eyesore,” premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said at the time.
The premier added: “To be clear, this is not a decision that rules out a future integrated resort development on the Gold Coast.”
The rejection of the Southport scheme meant the gaming licence became vacant, opened the door for other casino developers – including Hard Rock – keen to get a slice of the coast’s burgeoning tourism market.
Hard Rock is the operator for numerous hotels and restaurants worldwide. The brand is synonymous with its chain of Hard Rock Cafes, one of which has been operating on the Gold Coast for more than 20 years.