Tuesday, October 24, 2023
The Ocala Jai Alai Fronton, which was the first pari-mutuel facility in Florida to institute simulcast wagering in the early 1990's when the late Tom Contreras was general manager, will close after business on Saturday to make way for the new Ocala Bets, located at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.
The new venue will begin operations in November and will feature several varieties of poker, at the same time continuing to present intertrack wagering from race tracks around the continent.
The Jai Alai Fronton, which opened in 1973 and over the years was home to some of the greats of the sport - Joey, Aramayo, Laca, Rufino, and even Ocala resident Mark Pinson, discontinued live jai alai many years ago to concentrate on its new poker room and the simulcasting business. The poker room then lost many of its attendees when the poker room opened at Oxford Downs, near The Villages, since busloads of players previously made the trip north to the Fronton.
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