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Slot machines arrive at Miami's jai alai

Las Vegas-style slot machines have arrived at Casino Miami Jai-Alai, in anticipation of the facility’s planned January reopening as a jai-alai fronton/slots casino. Miami Jai-Alai has been a South Florida fixture for more than 80 years, but the erosion of jai-alai’s popularity with gamblers led to recent financial struggles for Miami Jai-Alai’s ownership.

That ownership company, Florida Gaming Corp., is hopeful that an extensive renovation of the facility — not just adding slots but also improving dining and entertainment amenities — will attract a new, larger customer base. A total of 1,050 slot machines were delivered to Casino Miami Jai-Alai on Wednesday.

A 2004 Florida constitutional amendment paved the way for South Florida pari-mutuels (horse tracks, dog tracks, and jai-alai frontons) to add slots and become “racinos.” Two other Miami-Dade County racinos, located at Calder Race Course and Flagler Dog Track, are already up and running, and historic Hialeah Park is currently building a slots casino, too. Photo here.

-- Mike Vasquez