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Say good bye to Jupiters and hello to The Star

By Zahndra Kershaw

THE Jupiters Casino brand will be no more next week when the iconic name is put to bed after more than 30 years.

It is not the first name change the city’s casino has undergone since it first opened its doors on November 21, 1985 in at the time was the biggest event the Gold Coast had seen. The opening came 20 years after a casino was first proposal for Surfers Paradise. The breakthrough finally came on July 25, 1980 when the National Party state conference was held on the Gold Coast.

Delegates voted in favour of granting a casino licence for the Gold Coast. In August that year a three-member State Government committee was formed to study the introduction of casinos. The battle raged for a year, with The Spit suggested as a potential location for a casino.

By August 1981 28 applications had been lodged, including one from the eventual winner, Jupiters. A short-list of six was drawn up by October 1981; whittled down to three in February 1982. State Treasurer Dr Lew Edwards announced Jupiters as the winning bid on March 8, 1982.

Construction began in 1983 after the Bjelke-Petersen Cabinet announced the controversial project would go ahead, with the Hilton Hotels company brought into the mix. Conrad International Hotel Corporation, a subsidiary of the Hilton Hotels chain, was announced as the operator of the development at Broadbeach Island.

For more than two years the Gold Coast watched the build, the $186 million development arriving on schedule and officially opening when Local Government Minister Russ Hinze dropped a 20c coin into a slot.

(Top) The neon Casino sign which was switched on in 1985                        

(Bottom)Jupiters fully lit up circa late 1985 

The casino’s “first patron” was supposed to be Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who was offered the role after he handed over the gaming licence, but he declined. Sir Joh handed over the main gaming licence to John Nosworthy, chairman of the directors of Queensland Trustees, as well as individual licences to five senior staff.

The premier, just two years away from his resignation, proclaimed the opening of the Conrad International Hotel as “only the beginning of a new era of progress and development for Australia’s favourite holiday playground”.

More than 3500 guests tested out the first of 750 “video gaming” machines in the first three days because traditional poker machines were not yet allowed.

Conrad International Hotel and Jupiters Casino Vice president-managing director Ronald Hughes told the press in 1985 he would “continue the tradition of providing superior accommodation, service and warm hospitality”, which Conrad Hilton established more than 65 years earlier.

Mr Hughes said on world standards the Gold Coast hotel, casino and convention centre was an outstanding complex. “With the unique curvature of the building and its spectacular glass dome, the complex would go well in Hong Kong or even New York City,’’ he said. “It is in the right location, the Gold Coast and its central position, away from Surfers Paradise but not out in the wilderness, is perfect.’’

The Conrad name was finally done away with in 2010 when the naming-rights deal ran out.

From next weekend Jupiters will be known as The Star.

Source: The Gold Coast Bulletin

Say goodbye to Jupiters and meet The Star

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