QUEENSLAND Tourism has refused to say whether it would support plans for a casino at Coolum during this week's meeting at Clive Palmer's Coolum Golf and Spa.
The state's top destination management organisation met with Sunshine Coast tourism operators at the Australian Tourism Export Council Symposium, where industry insiders believed billionaire Mr Palmer would reveal plans for a boutique gambling hub. But the business tycoon was a no show due to overseas commitments.
Rumours have been rife for months now that the business tycoon would turn Coolum Golf and Spa into a mini-Las Vegas after trade marking "Coolum Casino" and the accompanying web address back in March.
Tourism Queensland chief executive Anthony Hayes said there were plusses and minuses to the idea of a casino in Coolum.
"It certainly would be great at driving economic benefit, but on the flip side there are a number of risks and challenges that go along with that, so it would be a big challenge," Mr Hayes said.
"Discussions on a casino are a fair way down the track so our discussions have been more based on what is going to be best for the next two months, as opposed to two years."
On Monday, Mr Palmer announced plans to build a line of luxury cruise ships, including Titanic II, and also that he would run for federal politics against Treasurer Wayne Swan.
He would not be drawn on his plans for the Coolum resort, saying he had only registered trademarks for the name Coolum Casino "to stop other people from doing those sorts of things".
"I don't think you can make money just having a casino anywhere, it's a pretty old idea," he said.
"You'll see us propose something for the north coast in the next couple of months. We've got a few nice surprises in store for you as the year unfolds."
Construction on his cruise ships will begin next year with state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard.
Half the tickets for the maiden voyage from England to North America in 2016 had been sold price unseen in the first 90 minutes on sale.
Mr Palmer said design work had begun with an historical research team for the new Titanic, which would have the same 840 rooms, nine decks and three classes.
He said his new venture was an extension of his tourism portfolio, which includes the Coolum resort as well as the Robina Woods and Colonial golf courses.
Mr Palmer bought the Regency Coolum resort in August and later renamed it the Coolum Golf and Spa.
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