IN THE KNOW: Jai alai
The Spanish Basque sport of jai alai was banned in 1987 by President Corazon Aquino.
Jai alai operations were briefly revived in 1993, but the Supreme Court decided with finality in 1995 that the game was illegal.
In June 1999, under the Estrada administration, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) reintroduced the game by going into partnership with private groups, Belle Corp. and Filipinas Gaming Entertainment Totalizator Corp.
On Nov. 29, 2000, however, the high court ordered Pagcor and the two firms to stop “managing, maintaining and operating jai alai,” putting a stop to all jai alai operations in the country.
On March 10, 2010, gaming firm Meridien Vista Gaming Corp. opened its first jai alai operations at the Cagayan free port.
Meridien obtained a gaming license from the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) that allowed it to operate an online betting system for its televised games.
Meridien also set up betting stations outside of Cagayan and collected bets around the country.
On March 3 this year, the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) ordered Meridien to close down all its betting stations outside the Cagayan free port.
Meridien questioned the order, saying it did not violate any laws since it was “merely acting under the license granted by (the) Ceza.”
In late March, the Aparri Regional Trial Court in Cagayan restrained the GAB from enforcing its order. Meridien continued to operate its betting stations. Eliza Victoria, Inquirer Research
Sources: Inquirer Archives, Bandera