RSI-Magic City Casino Deal Hopes To Revive Interest In Jai-Alai

Written By JR Duren on October 1, 2021

The world’s fastest game of jai-alai just got a little more interesting. Specifically, jai-alai betting.

Magic City Casino in Miami became a sports betting partner with the Chicago-based gaming operator with Rush Street Interactive (RSI). RSI gets Magic City’s exclusive league data for its BetRivers Sportsbook.

BetRivers is offering live jai-alai betting in Iowa and Illinois. However,  sports betting is not legal in Florida yet.

The new partnership allows RSI to give jai-alai bettors real-time data for in-play wagering. It also provides fixed-odds betting instead of pari-mutuel bets.

Magic City COO Scott Savin said:

“Working closely with the RSI team, we are excited to pioneer a new twist on an old favorite and offer fans exciting and different ways to engage with Jai-Alai while modernizing the sport to a whole new digital betting audience.From day one we’ve made it our mission to create an innovative and modern-looking league where the integrity of the game and its athletes have been our focus to earn and retain our bettors’ trust.”

Bets move from pari-mutuel to fixed odds

At the heart of the partnership is the move away from pari-mutuel betting to fixed odds for head-to-head matchups.

Under pari-mutuel bets, the odds offered on a bet aren’t set until after all bets have been placed. Conversely, fixed odds allow betters to see bookmaker odds before they make their bets.

RSI CEO Richard Schwartz said in a company statement:

“As a result of these modern H2H matches transitioning away from the traditional pari-mutuel style of play into a brand new fixed-odds betting format where every action-packed point matters, customers can wager directly on the head-to-head matchups, set-by-set or even point-by-point just like in the popular betting sports of tennis and table tennis.”

Magic City integrity among reasons why RSI struck deal

Prominent in RSI’s announcement about the partnership was the emphasis on Magic City’s jai-alai integrity.

The sport has been rocked by several scandals over the past few decades. To curb match-throwing, Magic City implemented several procedures to protect match integrity when its league launched in 2018:

  • Training programs
  • Background checks on athletes, staff and officials
  • Hired outside firm to monitor betting and match integrity

At the end of the day, RSI wants to offer our players engaging and high integrity betting content and we’re thrilled that Magic City’s league is able to achieve both of these goals,” Schwartz said.

Magic City continues campaign to revive jai-alai

Jai-alai is a sport that started in the Basque region of Spain. It became popular in America in the 50s and died out in the ’80s.

However, Magic City is making an effort to resurrect the sport’s popularity.

The facility hosts the U.S. National Jai-Alai Championship that features singles and doubles championships in professional and masters divisions.

Additionally, Magic City’s choice to launch jai-alai in 2018 is the subject of a documentary that focuses on the facility’s choice to recruit former pro and college athletes to join the league.

Photo by Dreamstime.com
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JR Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey gambling beats for Catena Media. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun. Duren is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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