Finding virtue in a vice like jai alai betting

Scenes From Miami

The Kickoff

February 02, 2007|By PETER SCHMUCK

No trip to South Florida would be complete without at least one exciting night of jai alai, which I think is a Basque term that means "these idiot Americans will bet on anything."

The sport is played by men with large curved baskets (cestas) tied to their throwing arms and looks a little like handball, except that you can bet on the outcome just as you would at a racetrack.

Now, you might be wondering about the wisdom of applying pari-mutuel betting to a sport played by humans, but it's really quite logical since dogs and horses aren't intelligent enough to fix races by themselves.

There are several jai alai stadiums (frontons) in the area, but the most popular are in Miami and Dania Beach, which is a coastal suburb of Fort Lauderdale.

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