Tasmania’s Wrest Point Hotel Casino has been granted permanent heritage protection by the state government.

Designed by Sir Roy Grounds and completed in 1973, Wrest Point Hotel Casino was the first venue in the country to be granted a casino license, making it Australia’s first legal casino.

The 17-storey octagonal tower was, at 64 metres, Hobart’s tallest tower at the time of completion – a title it retains to this day. Since completion, the building has been largely untouched, but there are plans in the works for a $70-million refurbishment of the venue. The proposed works, funded by Federal Group and designed by Buchan Group, include an additional private VIP gaming room, an upgrade of the Birdcage Bar, new dining areas and a revitalisation of the casino’s waterfront walkway.

As one of Tasmania’s most notable tourist icons, the Tasmanian Heritage Council chair, Brett Torossi, says the building’s inclusion on the state heritage register is an important step towards recognising its role in shaping the capital’s character.

“The inclusion of Wrest Point Hotel Casino on the [Tasmanian] Heritage Register gives important recognition to the significant role this place has played in the development of Tasmania’s tourism and hospitality industry,” said Torossi.

It is unclear how – or if – this recent heritage listing will affect Federal Group’s refurbishment plans for the Wrest Point Hotel Casino.