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Bada Raises An Interesting Question...........

........... Probably deserving of its own thread actually - "did they really try?" (Usual Disclaimer: These are my personal thoughts & feelings and do not necessarily represent the views & opinions of my current employer).

For the record I have never worked for or at Dania Jai-Alai but the Jai-Alai world is small here in the U.S. and I don't think there is any mystery to the operation. Income -vs- cost. I know a bit about how "racinos" evolved and how Jai-Alai fits into the equation. Dania is very straightforward. It, most likely, was purchased as an investment. Prior to purchase current ownership would have established what an acceptable ROI would be based on detailed actual financials and projections of slot, poker, ITW, Jai-Alai and ancillary revenues, secured by the value of the real property.

I believe they did try and I don't think there is any question about it. The proof exists in how owners of similar businesses handled Jai-Alai. Fronton Holdings obliterated the Jai-Alai product at Casino Miami virtually from the day they took over. Others promoted the 2-man-sham. These were surely options for Dania ownership but they negotiated two collective bargaining agreements and maintained a quality product with quality players when there was no evidence Jai-Alai could ever pay for itself.

As someone who was in charge of "marketing & advertising" at 3 frontons in three very different markets here in Florida "it could have been marketed differently" falls as a hollow refrain and has actually become a trope. For the 2nd 1/2 of the 20th Century and 1st decade of the 21st, "advertising" a fronton consisted of the following ad mix: print, outdoor, radio and local television. All of the frontons had all of that. Marketing was a mix of attracting tourists and creating promotions that would be a draw.

For an entire generation of owners & managers you advertised and marketed a fronton with a percentage of the income from operations. When those operations don't generate a profit where does the money come from to market & advertise? Your number one expense is always going to be players. Do you cut players to pay for ads prompting the public to come and see the players who remain?

So there is no question that the current ownership of Dania did "try" where Jai-Alai is concerned. It's a mistake in the thinking of those who love or enjoy Jai-Alai here in the United States to believe that because slots do generate a profit that owners have some moral obligation to support Jai-Alai. While it is true that some 20 years ago that was one of the motivations of the "THEN" owners, subsequent owners don't have an obligation to that ideal. In the two most recent examples of how to deal with the issue of Jai-Alai as a business in South Florida Fronton Holdings took one approach and Dania took a vastly different one. Its not a happy ending but in Dania's case there is no real villain or clear error anyone can reliably point to.


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