The Gold Coast’s sole casino operator wants to grow even larger and take a leading role in tourism within a decade.
Star Entertainment Group is this week marking 10 years since the company was founded as Echo and is looking to the future while celebrating its past.
The company says it hit “rock bottom” in 2020 during the COVID but is bouncing back, with the goal of seizing on the eventual return of overseas visitors.
Star chief legal officer Paula Martin said the company had grown dramatically since the creation of Echo in 2011 as part of a demerger with Tabcorp Holdings: “Our history would say you can’t predict our next 10 years but there’s a real chance that the next decade we could emerge as an even larger, leading tourism and entertainment conglomerate,” she said.
“I hope we’ll be continuing to grow – holding our own with anyone on a global scale and providing diverse and exciting opportunities for even more team members and guests.
Jupiters Casino circa 2011.
“I would say the company was like a small toddler learning to walk (when it was created in 2011) – full of energy and determination, but having a stumble and fall every now and then.
“(Now) we have cleared a number of hurdles and grown up, transforming into adults with very steady footing and I think that shows our company’s tenacity and grit.”
The Star Gold Coast was founded as Conrad Jupiters Casino in November 1985 and became one of the Gold Coast’s biggest attractions.
Echo took control of the site from Tabcorp in June 2011 and changed its name to Star in November 2015 at the casino’s 30th anniversary.
It is now developing its $2 billion masterplan at Broadbeach Island which could see up to seven towers built in total including the existing Star Grand and The Darling.
Construction began in May on a new $400 million, 63-storey supertower.
Star chief casino officer Geoff Hogg said his proudest moment from the past 10 years was the transformation of the Gold Coast site.
“It’s taken years of work but today, The Star Gold Coast is largely seen as a positive brand for the city and a place where people really come together for a variety of celebratory, relaxation, and business occasions,” he said.
“I think our ability to move quickly has been a big strength, especially when you look back on the successful decade we’ve had, focused on unprecedented growth and expansion.
“But in terms of improving, we work in a highly competitive industry and we have to continually evolve to address new challenges that will undoubtedly arise along the way.
“COVID-19 is proof of that because temporarily standing down 90 per cent of our people across the Group last year was an absolute rock bottom moment for us but somehow we got through it.
During the past decade Star successfully fought off plans to build a second casino as part of a global tourism hub.
While the state government turned down its demand for a 30-year exclusivity agreement, it did end the process through which another bidder could enter the market.