Illinois And Iowa Residents First To Wager On Magic City Jai-Alai

Residents in the neighboring states of Illinois and Iowa are the first to be able to wager on Magic City Jai-Alai, thanks to BetRivers — which also operates in Indiana — being named the official sports betting partner of the Florida-based jai alai league.

Offering bets in a new head-to-head format, BetRivers — one of Rush Street Interactive’s (RSI) sportsbook brands — is the only sportsbook offering the action.

“The league’s commitment to integrity and fair play impressed us from the outset,” said Richard Schwartz, CEO of RSI, in a press release. “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.” 

The sport of jai alai has been touched by gambling scandals in the past, most notably in the mid-1970s. But Magic City Jai-Alai has operated over 4,000 matches since its inception in 2018, all under the oversight of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. In addition to holding training programs and instituting background checks on every player and staff member, the league has also contracted with a third-party integrity firm to monitor all gambling and event activity.

“RSI is excited to partner with Magic City Jai-Alai to pioneer this new fast-paced format of play for jai alai, a sport which has long been a betting favorite and has a storied history in Florida dating back to the 1930s,” Schwartz continued. “As a result of these modern H2H matches transitioning away from the traditional parimutuel 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. Jai alai is the fastest sport in the world, with ball speeds exceeding 150 mph, and with this new electrifying format, we are really excited to offer bettors a unique way to watch in real-time and bet in-play on a sport we know they will love.”

Indiana soon?

While only Illinois and Iowa are allowing wagering on the sport right now, the press release noted other markets will soon come online, although it did not specifically say when Indiana would be added to the list.

“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,” said Scott Savin, Magic City COO in the release. “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.”

To see the sport in action, would-be bettors can learn more at Jai-Alai TV and on Instagram at @jaialainetwork.