Australian casino operator Echo Entertainment is gussying up its Jupiters Gold Coast property in order to attract more Asian VIP gamblers.
On Monday, Echo chairman John O’Neill joined Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in the ceremonial groundbreaking of the property’s new $345m, six-star, 17-storey, 80s-suite hotel tower. The VIP-focused flophouse will be ready by the time the Gold Coast hosts the Commonwealth Games in April 2018.
The upper levels of the new tower will feature plenty of attractions for the upper crust, including 400-square-meter ‘super suites’ that put the V in VIP, with mega-balconies, private karaoke parlors, in-room theaters and an infinity pool.
Echo is on a bit of a roll, having reported profits up by more than half in its more recent fiscal year thanks to a serious influx of Asian VIPs to its two Queensland properties and its flagship The Star casino in Sydney. The Star is undergoing its own $500m renovation and Treasury Brisbane will be replaced in 2022 by the new $2b Queens Wharf mega-resort, all of which left Jupiters Gold Coast as Echo’s ugly stepchild.
Echo CEO Matt Bekier said Jupiters used to enjoy “a big Japanese business” but the 30-year-old property had since fallen out of favor as high-rollers gravitated to the country’s newer gaming venues. Bekier believes the property’s facelift will go “a long way to bring some of that investment back.”
The Star currently generates around 30% of its gaming revenue from international VIPs and Bekier believes Jupiters can garner between 20% and 25% VIP share by 2018. Echo has taken “some of our largest players and junket operators” to give them a first-hand look at Echo’s vision for the property and he’s confident that once the architectural drawings take on tangible form, Jupiters will enjoy “a very quick pick-up of VIP volumes.”
Echo probably won’t have the Gold Coast all to itself, as the ASF Consortium’s long-delayed $2b project was recently given new life by the state government. And then there’s Tony Fung, who has a couple casino irons in Queensland’s fire, including the proposed $8b Aquis Grand Barrier Reef Resort near Cairns and his bid to add a casino to the Sheraton Mirage hotel he agreed to buy in May.
Bekier said the Queensland government’s decision making is out of Echo’s hands, and while he’d prefer to be the only Gold Coast gaming option, he’s “very confident that our international sales team has the capacity to sell this globally competitive product.”