Jai-Alai Chalk Talk Hall of Fame

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The real reasons for the state of the sport...

Posted on January 29, 2007 at 09:58:13 PM by PMG

Forget about "it needs more marketing", or "the owners haven't done enough" or "have more tournaments" and other excuses for the decline of the sport. Below are the real reasons in my opinion of the decline of Jai Alai and why it will be very tough financially to compete against.

The Florida Lottery started with a single scratch off now it has dozens of scratch offs and many other games.

De-Regulation of the Pari-Mutuel Industry, every facility could open year round putting each facility in direct competition with each other instead of dividing the year into seasons for different track/frontons

Gambling cruises to nowhere offering full casino games and slots.

Horse, Dog, Jai-Alai betting and Poker brought into the frontons and directly compete with the 'live' product.

Minimum bet lowered to $1 resulting in getting your pools cut in half. It used to be a minimum of $2 for quiniela and $3 for perfecta.

Florida Indian casinos offering poker, bingo and slots (they are always packed)

The Internet ... poker and other games to gamble on.

No Jai Alai amateur programs whatsoever (except Orlando) to create new fans. Not even an American team to represent the US in World Tournaments. Also, it is a very expensive sport to practice, you have to buy cestas, and pay to repair them, buy helmets, pay for court rentals etc.

Many more attractions now in Florida, several theme parks, (remember when it used to be Disney, the Dolphins & The Bucs) NBA, MLB, NFL teams to take share of the entertainment dollar.

In a business sense, you can easily go broke trying to 'market' Jai Alai back, and I guess for the pari-mutuel owners the phrase "if you can't beat them, join them" comes to mind.


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