Tasmania casinos are a part of the government’s push to increase tourism to the island state. Tasmania’s economy has been improving since 2001, thanks to good economic conditions in Australia and a decrease in the cost of air fare and other means of travel to the island. As of the time of publication, only two brick and mortar casinos are open inside Tasmania’s borders, though pokies and other gambling machines are common in the state’s hotels and bars, as is Internet casino gambling nationwide.
The Tasmanian Gaming Commission controls the regulation and legality of different forms of gambling on the island. The state’s Gaming Control Act gives the state government power to declare some gambling-related contests illegal as well as the power to regulate casino and gambling machines anywhere on Tasmania.
The Tasmanian government’s strict regulations and the language in the Gaming Control Act (combined with Tasmania’s decision to mirror many of the fairly strict gaming laws of the Australian government) are partly responsible for the small number of betting venues within its borders. Another limiting factor is the small population that lives inside Tasmanian borders and the island’s limited amount of space.
Here are details on the two major sites of casino gambling in Tasmania.
Hobart, home to the majority of Tasmania’s population of around 500,000, is also home to the island’s oldest and best-known gambling venue. Wrest Point opened in 1973 on a scenic stretch of land in Sandy Bay. The hotel that is home to the casino is really a luxury resort with hundreds of different suites and room styles in a naturally beautiful setting. The resort’s boardwalk gives guests easy access to water and outdoor recreation. The resort’s list of nine bars and restaurants includes one on the casino’s main floor set aside for bettors only. The hotel’s tower is still the largest building on the island, so as you travel in to Hobart you can’t miss the town’s resort and gambling centre.
The gaming floor is around 20,000 square feet in size, but the variety of games available is part of what makes Wrest Point it the most popular live gambling site on the island. Twenty-three table games are open every minute the casino is open, and a poker table is open for between twelve and sixteen hours a day. Call the casino for poker room open times. Every game on the casino’s table list is available in a version that accepts minimum wagers of AUD $5.00. Bet maximums vary depending on what games are open in the VIP Room – this section of the casino has high roller table games and special high stakes pokies and other machines in a non-smoking environment.
Wrest Point’s table games include baccarat, blackjack, money wheel, pontoon, roulette, Sic Bo, two casino-style poker games (Caribbean Stud and Texas Hold’em), Federal Pontoon, and Rapid Roulette. Pokies fans can play on games with bet sizes from one cent up to AUD$1; tables and pokies with larger wager allowances are open in the VIP section. A total of 650 machine games (video poker and pokies) are spread across the gambling floor.
According to the casino’s website, more than 350 pokie jackpots are paid out per week. Visitors to the casino must be 18 years old or older; hotel guests are not limited by age.
Tasmanian law declares that all casinos must be closed for at least four hours in every twenty-four hour period. The Wrest Point Casino is open from 9 AM to 3 AM every day but Saturday, when the open hours are extended to 4 AM.
Just outside Prospect Value is Country Club Resort, a ten minute drive from Launceston Airport. The attached hotel and has around 100 rooms, some built as self-contained villas or larger VIP suites. Country Club Resort has a business centre for conferences and banquets as well as an 18-hole golf course.
Gambling at Country Club Resort is broken up between two categories – machines and table games. The casino floor is home to some 500 pokies, slots, and video poker games, while seventeen traditional and unique table games are available for gamblers who like casino standards. At Country Club, these include keno, three versions of blackjack, pontoon, a few variants of roulette, casino-style poker like Caribbean Stud and a small group of money wheel games.
Dotted among the buildings of the resort (built in a natural bushland setting) are five restaurants serving a variety of meals from comfort food to gourmet multiple-course dinners. If you are looking for nightlife, pick from four different bars and several small stages featuring live entertainment most nights. An attached pool, spa, and sauna is designed to help guests relax after a day of trail horse riding or high stakes table gambling. Guests who want to be a part of the island’s wildlife can fish in the stocked lake or take guided walks in the bushland. All casino or hotel customers get free valet parking, free transfers to the Tasmanian airport, and can check in or out any time twenty-four hours a day.
Country Club Resort’s casino floor is not the biggest in Australia or even in Tasmania, but the site’s natural setting and variety of guest options (plus a healthy collection of five hundred pokies and other machines along with two dozen table games) make Country Club in Launceston a popular island destination for visitors willing to travel a little outside the capital of Hobart.
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Tasmania’s state government is strict when it comes to gambling regulations – the Gaming Commission in charge of betting island-wide dictates how many clocks must be in areas where table and machine games are available for play, the training and licensure of casino employees, and how many times casino customers can cash out, as well as limits for exchanging cash for gambling chips. As the tourism industry becomes a bigger part of the island’s income, gambling regulations are changing to allow more casino-style betting in resorts like the ones described above and in other retail environments.