Wrest Point Hotel Casino in Tasmania is one of two large gambling halls on the main island of the state of Tasmania. The Wrest Point property is built on Sandy Bay in the capital city of Hobart. The casino section of the complex has the distinction of being the first legal casino in all of Australia.
The casino at Wrest Point Hotel in Tasmania opened for gamblers in February of 1973 after a decade of attempts by the hotel’s ownership to secure a gaming license. Tasmania was virtually unknown to tourists in the 1960s; the owners of Wrest Point Riviera (the original hotel where the casino complex now stands) wanted to build a casino to increase tourism to the island. After a referendum legalizing casino gambling passed, a new seventeen storey hotel was built. That tower structure is still a part of the complex today and is still the tallest building in Hobart.
The referendum’s success and the casino’s construction were responsible for the development of the casino industry throughout Australia. Tourism to Tasmania did in fact increase, and tourist dollars are now a major part of the territory’s economy.
Hobart, where most of the island’s 500,000 people live, is the main point of entry for visitors to the island. Wrest Point Casino is part of the larger Wrest Point luxury resort facility, including the hotel, a boardwalk that allows guests to walk along the River Derwent, and the usual line-up of restaurants and bars associate with large casino properties.
The gambling section of the casino complex itself is around 20,000 square feet in size. The casino’s variety of table games and electronic gaming machines makes Wrest Point the largest and most popular gambling site in Tasmania.
Fans of blackjack and craps have a selection of twenty-three table games available during the casino’s open hours. Each table game offered accepts wagers as little as AUD $5.00, with maximum bet sizes varying based on the game. The casino also has a special VIP section where table games, pokies, and other traditional casino contests allow larger wagers in a private non-smoking lounge.
Table games available vary from day to day, but can include baccarat as well as mini-baccarat, blackjack in three different rule variations, money wheel, roulette in both American and European formats, Sic Bo, two casino table poker games (slots!Texas Hold’em and Caribbean Stud), a unique version of blackjack called Federal Pontoon, and a number of Rapid Roulette portals.
The casino’s electronic machine games include pokies accepting bets ranging from AUD$ 0.01 up to AUD$1 per spin. Big spenders have access to pokies that take larger wagers in the VIP section. Wrest Point hosts one of the larger collections of electronic machines in Australia – around 650 games including multiple versions of video poker and progressives, including progressive pokies and machine skill games.
Head-to-head poker games are held at Wrest Point Casino every Wednesday through Saturday night. The number of ring games open depends on the number of reservations – players who want to join poker games (the only game played is Texas Hold ‘Em) have to call or visit the Cash Desk to secure a seat. The casino’s website indicates that most poker nights are limited to a single table of up to ten people, though during the busy winter season a larger section of the gambling floor is dedicated to the game.
All guests entering the casino must be 18 years old or older, though the attached hotel property and other amenities do not have an age restriction.
The casino’s hours are dictated by Tasmanian gambling law, part of which states that all casinos operating on the island have to close for at least four hours per twenty-four hour day. Following that regulation, Wrest Point Casino opens at 9 AM and closes at 3 AM every day but Saturday. That day, the casino extends its closing time to 4 AM.
As for the dress code, the gambling floor of Wrest Point Hotel Casino requires only “neat and clean casual attire,” while some of the restaurants and bars attached to the complex have their own specific requirements. Before you visit any part of the Wrest Point property outside the casino, check with management or on the website for details on what sort of dress is required.
The hotel contains 291 guest rooms, four restaurants, and two bars. The casino floor has its own bar serving food during gambling hours. Attached to the hotel is a convention and meeting space with a modular set-up that can be arranged depending on the needs of the guests.
Other on-site amenities: a marina and guides available for fishing trips, spa, two swimming pools, sports facilities (mini-golf, tennis, racquetball, and basketball facilities), and the boardwalk which gives guests easy access to the shore.
The Wrest Point Entertainment Centre, made up of two different theatre facilities, hosts live comedy, music, and theatrical performances. Both Plenary Room and the Tasman Hall seat hundreds of guests and have events scheduled a month or two in advance. Hotel guests can enjoy some events for free – check the schedule at Wrest Point’s website for more details.
Guests of the hotel can take a complimentary shuttle from the airport, which is fifteen kilometres away by major roads. Visitors to the casino not staying at the hotel are not able to use the free shuttle, but can park at the site for free or pay for valet service.
See also: Country Club Casino