Nautica Charity Poker Festivals Bring Texas Hold 'Em to Cleveland This Summer - Saturday 12th of March 2005

Plans are underway for a series of weekly Charity Festivals that will bring poker, including Texas Hold 'Em, to the Nautica Entertainment Complex on the west bank of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio this summer. The Nautica Charity Poker Festivals will consist of up to 12 four-day festivals operated by different charities that feature poker played inside a 20,000 sq. ft. air-conditioned Festival Center. Over 1,000 greater Clevelanders will be volunteering their time as card dealers and concessionaires during these Charity Festivals.

 

Created to generate revenue for local charities, as well as generate public awareness of the economic benefits of gaming, Nautica Charity Poker Festivals will serve to draw thousands of visitors to downtown Cleveland. "The Poker Festivals will demonstrate the phenomenal demand for gaming in Ohio and show people that gaming is a viable source of revenue -- in this case benefiting charities," said Dave Grunenwald, Vice President of Development/Leasing for Jacobs Investments, which owns the Nautica Entertainment Complex. "Additionally, we believe that these Charity Poker Festivals will reveal to statewide voters and to statewide elected officials that this job-creating, revenue-generating industry is a plus for Cleveland as well as Ohio. Ohioans are traveling to surrounding states to spend their entertainment dollars on gaming, and now that Pennsylvania has legalized slot machines, additional business will be drained away from cities like Cleveland, and entertainment venues like the Nautica Entertainment Complex" he added. Pennsylvania recently passed legislation that will allow as many as 61,000 slot machines at casinos and racetracks. States surrounding Ohio with legalized gambling include New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, plus Canada.

 

Nautica Charity Poker Festivals will feature two popular poker games -- Texas Hold 'Em and Seven Card Stud, played at 30 tables that seat up to 10 players each. As planned, the 4-day Festivals will run from Thursday through Sunday, 8-hours a day, beginning June 16th and continue through Labor Day weekend.

 

Each Festival will be operated by a qualified charitable organization that will receive 100% of the proceeds. Proceeds will come from an hourly seat fee paid by each player, donations made by patrons, food and beverage concessions and sponsorship.

 

Jacobs Entertainment, Inc., an affiliate of Jacobs Investments, will serve as an unpaid consultant to each charity. The Denver-based corporation is a licensed gaming operator in Colorado, Virginia, Louisiana and Nevada with casinos that include slot machines and poker rooms, and a horse race track with off-track wagering facilities. Consulting services provided at no charge will include training volunteers.

 

"In addition to poker, all of the Festivals will offer other activities, including cultural and artistic events, charity demonstrations and information booths relevant to each charity," noted Grunenwald. "Although wheels are in full motion on this, many details still need to be worked out, including negotiating a lease with Cuyahoga County and/or the City of Cleveland," he added. A government lease is necessary to allow multiple festivals to take place at the Nautica Entertainment Complex over the summer. "We will request from a local government that multiple charity poker festival leases only be entered into with Nautica, Tower City, Northfield racetrack and Thistledown racetrack as these are the four Cleveland area entertainment venues most affected by emerging out-of-state gaming developments," added Grunenwald.

 

Representatives from the Nautica Entertainment Complex are in the process of meeting with charities and will announce participating charities at a later date. "Large, qualified 501(c)(3) charities interested in hosting a Festival should contact us via our web site as we have not finalized the list of participating charities," advised Paul Ertel, a Jacobs' representative.

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