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Bruce Smith Enterprise and The Cordish Companies Partner on Proposal to Codevelop $1.4B Transformative Mixed-use Development in Petersburg, Virginia

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Bruce Smith Enterprise and The Cordish Companies have responded to a request for proposal issued by the City of Petersburg, Virginia with plans to codevelop a $1.4 billion Live! Gaming & Entertainment District, anchored by Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia. The proposed project will generate billions of dollars in economic benefits and spinoff development, create thousands of new jobs and benefits to the local community, and become a major new tourist destination for the City and the Central Virginia region.

The proposed site is ideally situated at the intersection of Wagner Road and Interstate I-95 with easy access on and off the East Coast’s major north-south interstate, making it the premier location in the Commonwealth. The partners also intend to quickly open an initial first phase casino within a year to begin creating jobs, vendor opportunities and economic benefits immediately for the City of Petersburg and its residents.

Bruce Smith Enterprise and The Cordish Companies’ longstanding relationship dates back to 2008, and most recently the team has partnered to bring a world-class casino resort destination to the Commonwealth. The joint venture partnership is the first-of-its-kind in the gaming and entertainment industry to have a minority-owned business enterprise as co-development partner.

The Petersburg ownership team, which makes up 50% minority equity participation, will become the largest minority ownership opportunity in the gaming and hospitality industry in the country, and will become a model for other projects in Virginia and throughout the nation. The team includes substantial investment from prominent minority businesses and individuals with a long history of residing, working, and investing in the Commonwealth including former Cox Communications GM and philanthropist Gary McCollum, former Philadelphia Eagle and University of Virginia All-American receiver Billy McMullen, and the Reynolds Family, founding family of Reynolds Metals.

Bruce Smith Enterprise, led by legendary NFL Hall of Fame member and Virginia native Bruce Smith, is a commercial real estate firm that specializes in the development of premier mixed-use projects. Headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA, the company has developed notable properties throughout the state and the Mid-Atlantic region that feature the cohesive and seamless integration of residential, hotel, Class A office, and retail space. Since retiring from professional football in 2004 after a prolific 19-year career, the NFL’s All-Time Sack Leader has endeavored to bring the same level of unparalleled excellence, diligence, and leadership that he honed as a veteran on the field to the management of Bruce Smith Enterprise. The successful development of timeless mixed-use properties that survive and withstand trends of the marketplace, strengthen, and invigorate the local economy and create jobs are core values of Bruce Smith Enterprise’s primary mission.

Bruce Smith Enterprise has flourished since its inception in 2004, partnering with Armada Hoffler in the development of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, The Swedish Embassy, Harbourside Office Building in Washington, D.C., and Blocks 7 and 10 in The Town Center of Virginia Beach, VA. Bruce Smith Enterprise’s portfolio also includes the Hilton Garden Inn and Smith’s Landing apartment community in Blacksburg, VA – a project built to service the needs of students, alumni, and their families at Smith’s Virginia Tech alma mater – as well as the Hyatt House Hotel and 27 Atlantic Apartments in Virginia Beach.

“I love Virginia. I was born and raised here. I attended VA Tech as a student athlete here, and after retiring from the NFL, I returned home with the inspiration and determination to help make it a more advantageous and prosperous place to live,” said Bruce Smith, Pro Football Hall of Famer, Prominent Virginian Developer and Community Leader.

“I have spent significant time in Petersburg talking with students and the community at large. I’ve had the opportunity to hear first-hand their stories of hardship, and I understand the struggle and the enormous challenges they face. Working as a developer in the state for over 20 years, I’m confident that Bruce Smith Enterprise and The Cordish Companies are the right partners for this undertaking, because we share the same vision and understand the needs of the City of Petersburg and its citizens. Together we can do remarkable work in Petersburg that will transform lives, restore hope, and ultimately imbue a new energy of revitalization that will be felt for generations. Our proposal represents a historic opportunity to prioritize the Petersburg community and put Virginians first,” Bruce Smith added.

“We are incredibly proud to join Bruce Smith and his team to present our vision for a transformational, world-class destination in Petersburg. As our development partner, Bruce shares our core values in investing for the long-term and creating jobs and opportunities for the community. No one comes close to our combined history of success and capabilities to be able to deliver a destination of this scale and complexity. The Cordish Companies’ track record for designing, financing, building, and operating large-scale mixed-use developments and casino resort destinations in the country is unmatched. Our success includes achieving every commitment, program, and goal in our proposals for cities across the country. We are committed to excellence, creating unforgettable experiences for our guests, and treating our team members and communities like family,” Zed Smith, Chief Operating Officer for The Cordish Companies, said.

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THE MONEYMAKER TOUR RETURNS TO HARD ROCK CINCINNATI WITH MORE THAN $1 MILLION UP FOR GRABS

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Following a hugely successful first event in Cincinnati, Ohio in September 2023, the Moneymaker Tour is returning to the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati on September 17 – 30, 2024 with a packed schedule that will guarantee more than $1 million across 15 trophy events. 

In September 2023’s inaugural stop at Hard Rock Cincinnati, the $1,500 Main Event was contested by 788 players and won by Joseph Bakun for $208,034. He was joined at the final table by Chris Moneymaker himself and WSOP Champion Joseph McKeehen and as well as the top cash prize, he also took home a crystal Moneymaker Tour trophy and a guitar trophy.

The Moneymaker Tour was created in 2023 by 2003 WSOP Champion and ACR Team Pro, Chris Moneymaker and Moneymaker Tour Executive Manager, Tony Burns. The Tour was conceived as a way for Moneymaker to give poker players opportunities to have their own ordinary to extraordinary moments as he did.

Despite its relative newcomer status, the Moneymaker Tour has made a name for itself, recently being voted the third most popular live poker tournament series behind only the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour, in a State of Poker survey. Since its inception, there have been eight events throughout Florida, Cincinnati and Houston.

The Tour has also recently announced new venues including a first visit to the birthplace of the Moneymaker boom with an event in Las Vegas from June 28 – July 6 at MGM Grand and its first international Main Event at Casino Aruba in October.

“Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati will team up with the Moneymaker Tour for a return in 2024” said Christopher Herbert, Hard Rock Cincinnati Manger of Poker & Sportsbook. “Hard Rock Cincinnati is grateful to be a part of the fastest growing poker tour in 2023. Chris Moneymaker, Tony Burns and their staff delivered an incredible experience for our guests during the 2023 Moneymaker Tour stop. There’s no better place to be in September 2024 than Cincinnati Ohio!”

“After an amazing series last September, we are excited to return to Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati”, said Tony Burns, Executive Manager of the Moneymaker Tour. “Continuing to partner with one of the most recognisable brands in the world amplifies our reach, resonates with our audience, and rocks our business to a whole other level.”

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Zenni Optical Announces Partnership with ESL FACEIT Group (EFG)

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Zenni Optical, the world’s leading online eyewear retailer, announced a partnership with ESL FACEIT Group (EFG), the leading esports and video game entertainment company. Designed to integrate eye health education with innovative eyewear solutions for the esports community, the partnership will officially launch at DreamHack festival in Dallas, taking place from May 31 to June 2.

This collaboration will showcase a co-branded collection of lifestyle and competitive eyewear and accessories, highlighting Zenni Optical’s commitment to promoting overall eye health, particularly in addressing issues like eye fatigue and strain. Additionally, the initiative will incorporate essential eye health education across various DreamHack Festivals, in alignment with EFG’s broader mission to foster inclusive gaming worlds and engaged, supported communities.

“DreamHack and ESL represent some of the most community-centric and prestigious competitive events in the world. In their own unique ways, they embody esports for everyone. By partnering with these incredible brands across the gaming and esports spaces, we aim to create engaging experiences that combine eye-health education with innovative eyewear solutions for players and fans at all levels,” said Robb Chiarini, Head of Gaming, Sports, & Events at Zenni Optical.

“We are thrilled to partner with Zenni Optical as the Official Eyewear Partner of DreamHack and ESL. The genuine passion that Zenni has for the esports industry is a refreshing sight to see, and a major driving factor for the decision behind our partnership. Zenni’s ongoing commitment to provide eyewear for everyone mirrors our own drive to create worlds beyond gameplay for gamers everywhere,” Craig Levine, Co-CEO at EFG, said.

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Circa Sports Launches Mobile App in Kentucky

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Circa Sports has expanded its operations into Kentucky with the launch of its popular mobile betting app. Debuting via a licensing agreement with ECL Corbin LLC at its Cumberland Run harness track, the brand will take the highest betting limits in the industry along with offering tight money line splits, transparent odds, exceptional customer service, and more.

Marking the fifth state for Circa Sports, the app is now available for download through partnership with the Cumberland Run property in Corbin, Kentucky. The Circa Sports Kentucky app can be downloaded and funded remotely from anywhere. Bettors will have access to transparent and fair limits, made possible with a business model of providing betting lines and odds that are more favorable for the customer.

“We are thrilled to launch Circa Sports in the great state of Kentucky. We’ve always had our sights set here as we know it is a major hub for college sports, horse racing and more. We are looking forward to providing Kentucky bettors with some of the best odds and expertise out there,” Derek Stevens, CEO of Circa Sports, said.

The Circa Sports Kentucky app was designed by players, for players. Available to patrons ages 18 and over, highlights include high betting limits, tight money line splits, transparent odds, exceptional customer service, option to browse the complete menu and live odds from anywhere at any time, and aggressive, higher-than-most betting limits for everyone – even winners.

The Circa app also includes future bets in parlays, two-sided Yes/No future betting, remote registration that can be done from anywhere on a mobile device and deposits and withdrawals that can be done through the app from anywhere.

Marc Falcone, co-owner of the ECL Corbin LLC properties, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Circa Sports to the Commonwealth as a sports-betting partner. They allow us to offer another amenity to complement our existing gaming.”

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