Busted glass and low attendance, but the dream still shines through at Florida City Jai-AlaiBy Nick Sortal, CDC Gaming ReportsOctober 10, 2017 at 7:47 amThe new jai-alai court where southern Miami intersects with the Florida Keys has been deserted for a couple of months now, and it’s not related to any hurricane.Kings Court, the new facility in Florida City, has already served its purpose for a while, operating for 58 sessions in July to meet a state requirement, even though there were ugly details: Players broke the front glass wall four times slinging the pelota and hitting just the wrong spot, and the average bet per game was $4. That’s total bet, by the few attendees watching.Kings Court, however, helps to satisfy part of the complicated Florida law that states that any card room have an accompanying horse track, dog track or jai-alai fronton.And, for a six-table poker room, Kings Court has done OK. They take in more than $100,000 per month, although September figures might be spotty because of the impact Hurricane Irma had in south Miami-Dade and the Florida Keys. Meanwhile, the Florida City jai-alai building still houses simulcast betting, for those who want to wager on horse, dog or jai-alai action conducted elsewhere in the country. So they have that going for them.The whole point of Kings Court is a long-term gamble, anyway. Hialeah Park owner John Brunetti bought 38 acres across from the Florida Keys Outlet Mall for $6.7 million. He built the fronton with the hope that eventually slots would come to that part of town, and with the annual legislative wrangling that goes down in Florida, you never know. It’s similar to the risk Brunetti took back in 2009, when he invested in refurbishing a decaying Hialeah Park race track with the goal of getting a slot license. Today, Brunetti’s race track is averaging $6 million a month in revenues from slot play.Brunetti’s representatives contracted with a company based in Marquina (Basque country, on the border between France and Spain) to construct the jai-alai walls, which are made of a very sturdy tempered glass and were said to easily absorb the 100-mph-plus pelota flings of players. Gozalo Vivanco, of JaiAlaiCourts.com called it impossible to break, noting that “a Formula One driver couldn’t go through it.”Well, you know what happened. The glass was plenty sturdy; the braces that connected the panels, though, gave way whenever a pelota caught the support screws just right. Shattered glass and game over. Patrons go home.Now jai-alai could be on hiatus until May 2019 at Kings Court. The next requirement is to run 58 performances by June 30, 2019. Management can resume action by May 2019 and easily get to 58 by running afternoon-evening doubles, but that means it’ll be almost two years before the game returns to Florida City – and that’s only if Florida law stands as it is now.