Jai-Alai Chronology
Significant Events in the World of Jai-Alai
Compliments of Jai-Alai Heaven
© Copyright 2003-2014, RSB Associates

1898

Cuba
Played for centuries in the Basque region, cesta punta is introduced to the Americas in Cuba.

1902

Havana, Cuba
May 7, 1902 - First official jai-alai court in America opens.

1904
St. Louis, MO First USA jai-alai fronton is built on DeBaliviere Avenue in the Kingsbury section of St. Louis, during the 1904 World's Fair. I have not found a direct connection with the World's Fair, only that it was an attraction built at the same time.
St. Louis, MO May 15, 1904 - St. Louis fronton opens.
St. Louis, MO July, 1904 - Jai-alai operations end after two months. The fronton later became the Winter Garden skating rink.

1924
Hialeah, FL The first Miami fronton is built as part of the Hialeah complex

1925
New Orleans, LA New Orleans fronton built.

1926
Hialeah, FL September 18, 1926 - The original Miami fronton is destroyed by the "Great Miami Hurricane", a massive Category IV storm which devastated Miami and Miami Beach.
Miami, FL Jai-Alai is first played professionally at the Miami fronton.

1927
Chicago, IL December 21, 1927 - Chicago jai-alai begins at the Rainbo Fronton (Rainbo Gardens).

1929
Mexico City Fronton Mexico opens.

1938
New York, NY Jai-Alai is introduced at the Hippodrome, playing only one short season.

1947
Tijuana, Mexico Fronton Palacio opens.

1953
Dania Beach, FL Dania Jai-Alai opens.
Tampa, FL December 19, 1953 - Tampa Jai-Alai opens.

1955
West Palm Beach, FL West Palm Beach Jai-Alai opens.

1959
Daytona Beach, FL Daytona Jai-Alai opens.

1962
Orlando, FL January 6, 1962 - Orlando Jai-Alai opens.

1968
  Mandatory use of helmets begins following a frightening head injury to Orbea, which effectively ended his career.
Florida A players strike led to blacklisting of many players, most of which returned to their homeland. Many were to return when Bridgeport Jai-Alai opened in 1976.

1971
Hartford, CT Connect General Assembly enacts Public Law #865, creating the Commission of Special Revenue. Its primary responsibility was the implementation of regulations governing pari-mutuel wagering as a means of obtaining funds for the support of state government.
Melbourne, FL Melbourne Jai-Alai opens.

1973
Ocala, FL Ocala Jai-Alai opens.

1974
Daytona Beach, FL April 10, 1974 - Daytona Beach fronton destroyed by fire. A Springfield (MA) Mafia boss was later implicated in the crime.
Fort Pierce, FL May 29, 1974 - Fort Pierce Jai-Alai opens.
Las Vegas, NV MGM Casino fronton opens.

1976
Hartford, CT May 20, 1976 - Hartford Jai-Alai opens (part of World Jai-Alai).
Bridgeport, CT June 1, 1976 - Bridgeport Jai-Alai opens.
Newport, RI Newport Jai-Alai opens.

1977
Milford, CT May 5, 1977 - Milford Jai-Alai opens.

1978
Reno, NV May 3, 1978 - MGM Reno fronton opens.
Quincy, FL Big Bend Jai-Alai opens.

1979
Newport, RI August 3, 1979 - Fastest jai-alai shot (188 mph) reported by Jose Ramon Arietio at Newport Jai Alai. Although I seriously doubt this number, it is still widely reported.
Florida The Seminole tribe (Florida) initiates bingo operations, and becomes the first Indian reservation gaming enterprise.

1980
Reno, NV MGM Reno fronton closes.
Las Vegas, NV November - MGM Grand Hotel fire.

1981
Tulsa, OK May 27, 1981 - Roger Wheeler murder.

1982
Miami, FL August 1, 1982 - John "Jack" Callahan murder

1983
Hartford, CT May 28 - June 30, 1983 - A labor dispute involving employees of Berenson's Hartford Jai-Alai and the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Local 217 resulted in a strike action, closing the fronton until June 30. A total of 34 performances were lost due to this action.

1988
Philippines  Jai-alai games terminated following a game-fixing scandal.
  International Jai-Alai Players Association (IJAPA) formed.
  April 14, 1988 - STRIKE

Hartford, CT
April 26, 1988 - CT Division of Special Revenue shuts down Bridgeport and Hartford frontons, citing "danger to the public safety"

Tampa, FL
April 28, 1988 - Tampa closes after operating for 1-1/2 weeks with replacement players.
  October 17, 1988 - Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). This Congressional Act affirmed the right of tribes to conduct gaming on Indian lands, but made it subject to tribal/state compact negotiations for certain types of gaming.

1990
Quincy, FL Big Bend Jai-Alai closes.
Melbourne, FL February 3, 1990 - Melbourne Jai-Alai closes.

1992
Ledyard, CT February 15, 1992 - Opening of Foxwoods Casino by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.
Daytona Beach, FL Daytona Jai-Alai closes.
West Palm Beach, FL December 30, 1994 - West Palm Deach Jai-Alai closes.

1994
Philippines An attempt to resurrect the game was blocked when the Supreme Court declared that gambling was against the national interest.

1995
Bridgeport, CT April 30, 1995 - Bridgeport Jai-Alai closes.
Hartford, CT September 5, 1995 - Hartford Jai-Alai closes.

1996

Mexico City
October 2, 1996 - Fronton Mexico closes.
Montville, CT October 12, 1996 - Opening of Mohegan Sun casino by the Mohegan Tribal Nation.

1998
Tampa, FL July 4, 1998 - Tampa Jai-Alai closes.
Tijuana, Mexico Fronton Palacio closes.

2000

Miami, FL
March 24, 2000 - L. Stanley "Buddy" Berenson passes away.

2001
Manila, P.I. June 22, 2001 - Jai-alai resumes in the Philippines, absent since 1986. Operated by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
Milford, CT December 12, 2001 - Milford Jai-Alai closes.

2003
Newport, RI July 13, 2003 - Newport Jai-Alai closes.

2004

Florida
Several major hurricanes cause local closings and do major damage to several frontons.

Florida
November 2, 2004 - Amendment 4 to the State Constitution passes, allowing slot machines at pari-mutuel venues in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties (subject to local approval).

2005

Jasper, FL
September 17, 2005 - Hamilton Jai-Alai opens, first new fronton in 27 years.

2010

Santa Ana, Cagayan, PI
March 10, 2010 - Jai-alai returns to the Philippines. Established by Meridien Vista Gaming Corp. (MVGC) within the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA).

2011

Santa Ana, Cagayan, PI
July 10, 2011 - As part of a crackdown against illegal off-fronton betting activity, a Philippine court issues a 60-day restraining order, temporarily stopping the games.