RANDALL N. CHRISTMAS
Mayor of Miami
Yes. Jai alai is one of the fastest sports in the world, as fast as the popular game of I hockey. As played in Miami, it is a very colorful game, with 98% of the players coming from Spain, Mexico and Cuba. Wagering is merely an added attraction. Our boys in Miami are now playing the game.
This is an article from the May 21, 1956 issue
MRS. WILLIAM J. GROARK
Yes, but not as frequently. True, jai alai is a great game, but we all feel the lure of a gamble. To place a wager on such superlative athletes adds much appeal to the game, from a woman's point of view. You just look at a magnificent athlete and say to your escort, "I'll bet on him!"
S. ROGER WOLIN
Official, Pan-American Airways
Yes. It's the fastest game in the world. People flock here from every section of the country, go to see jai alai, and become great fans. Some become accustomed to modest betting, but the majority of visitors don't bet at all. We don't bet at baseball games. And jai alai is much faster.
H. EARL SMALLEY
President, Couture Car Rental System
Yes, because I enjoy a game which is so terrifically competitive. Jai alai is an evening sport, one of the first things my northern friends want to see. I enjoy taking them because they are so impressed. The girls who collect bets at your seat add color and interest.
FRANK M. STEVENS
President Catering concern
Yes, just as I would continue going to horse races if there were no betting, because jai alai is a great sport. I've watched spectators at jai alai frontons. Few of them were betting. They were intent on the successive games. That's because jai alai is faster than hockey.
DR. RALPH B. FERGUSON
Physician, City Commissioner
No. Jai alai and horse racing would both die without gambling. Furthermore, Florida operates on the pari-mutuel machine. Actually, Dade County, with the pari-mutuels, keeps Florida going. Just try banning these machines and see what would happen to our tourist business.
Mayor of Dania
Yes, because the skill of the players and the excitement of the sport is the chief appeal of jai alai. It requires years of practice and top conditioning to acquire the skill necessary to be a top jai alai player. To some who are good judges of athletic ability, wagering adds interest.
T. BAYARD NALDRIDGE
Yes, because there is more action than in baseball or basketball. Cuban jai alai is even more fascinating. It's so fast that players are given shots of brandy to keep them going. When one slips and falls, attendants immediately wipe the sweat from the floor so others won't slip.
DR. VINCENT A. NARDIELLO
New York Boxing Commission physician
No. Jai alai is a foreign game played by foreigners. There is no personal interest in the players as there is in baseball and football. There are no heroes, and little cheering. You pick and bet on the players by names and numbers, as you do the horses. And they disappoint you as frequently.
I have done it many times in Havana and Mexico City. No sport demands more of a competitor in skill, liming, position play and stamina than jai alai. Covering a 200-foot court requires top speed and great stamina. You'd think a man would wear out fast, but they go on longer than any other sport. Erdoza Menor, greatest of all time, dropped dead on the court at the age of 56, with 40 years of pro play behind him. I have never known a group who were finer gentlemen or had a keener competitive instinct. I could watch the continuing thrills without betting a dime. But, when you have a few dollars riding, the blood pressure reaches new highs.
DANIEL W. KEEFE
Definitely not. Jai alai is not a good sports spectacle. The game resembles handball, with the same play over and over again. It bores me. Even with pari-mutuel betting, it isn't too appealing. You don't know the players and you bet on one as if he were a horse.
President, Newspaper Reporters Assn.
That's like asking if I would go to Belmont Park for the sun, Las Vegas for the stage shows or the Kentucky Derby for a mint julep. The game calls for a wager. Its popularity is due to the pari-mutuel. Jai alai would be well received in New York if properly controlled and directed.
How would you compare lacrosse with football?