SunCruz gambles on Qorvis to help casino cruises draw youngercrowd

DANIA, FL: SunCruz Casinos has appointed Qorvis Communications to

launch a dollars 2 million campaign involving PR, government affairs and

IR, in a bid to reach a younger audience.

After an extensive, 35-agency search, SunCruz tapped Qorvis in

Alexandria, VA, as its agency of record. Ben Waldman, SunCruz's

president looked at a number of companies who had previously worked with

casinos and tourism.

Qorvis' appointment will rekindle a number of old relationships. Qorvis'

managing partner Michael Petruzello knew Waldman when the latter headed

the White House out-reach program during the Reagan Administration.

Petruzello also knows Jack Abramoff, an entertainment lawyer with the

Washington office of Greenberg & Traurig, who also sits on SunCruz's


Republican ties are even stronger with Sun-Cruz chairman Adam Kidnan who

was chairman of the Young Professionals for Bush in 1988. Qorvis' Judy

Smith served as deputy press secretary in the Bush administration.

SunCruz, a casino day cruise company, operates out of 11 Florida


The cruises take passengers into international waters, thereby letting

SunCruz operate without a gaming license.

According to SunCruz spokesman Joe Weber, the cruises provide much more

than gambling opportunities. They have a strong entertainment element,

he explained, with live music and meals. While many people think the

cruises are aimed at seniors, Weber said a new target is much younger.

In fact, a new ship is being launched to coincide with Spring Break.

Qorvis may find it has its work cut out for it. According to a January 8

article in the St. Petersburg Times, SunCruz employees used strong-arm

tactics to retrieve boats from former partners of Gus Boulis, founder of

SunCruz. The cruise company has filed a federal lawsuit to prevent the

original owners from using those assets which SunCruz claims belong to


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