Jersey Account-Bet System Handles $41.5M in First Year

Almost $41.5 million in handle has passed through New Jersey Account Wagering, a joint venture of the New Jersey Sports Authority and Pennwood Racing, since its launch Oct. 28, 2004.

The NJSEA said Nov. 1 that more than 4,600 individuals have opened accounts in the past year. Wagers can be made via the Internet or telephone.

"The good news in New Jersey horse racing is clearly account wagering," Dennis Dowd, senior vice president for racing for the NJSEA, said in a release. "Our first year has far exceeded our expectations."

The NJSEA reported that from Jan. 1-Oct. 31 this year, wagering on in-state signals through the account-betting system generated $475,000 in purses. The revenue went directly to each track on which wagers were made.

Wagering on out-of-state signals produced $1.9 million in purse money, the NJSEA said. That revenue is allocated by formula to Thoroughbred and Standardbred purses and then awarded to each track.

Because of an agreement with Atlantic City casinos on a purse subsidy, purses are guaranteed at Meadowlands and Monmouth Park, the two tracks operated by the NJSEA.

The account-wagering operation is headed by Carol Ciarco, director of account wagering for the NJSEA and Pennwood, which is a partnership of Penn National Gaming Inc. and Greenwood Racing. Pennwood owns Freehold Raceway, a New Jersey harness track; Greenwood, operator of Philadelphia Park in neighboring Pennsylvania, owns Atlantic City Race Course in southern New Jersey.

Account wagering through the system is available only for New Jersey residents ages 18 and older. Wagering is offered on live racing at Freehold, Meadowlands, and Monmouth, as well as out-of-state signals offered at those facilities. Atlantic City, which offered only four days of live Thoroughbred racing this year, doesn't export its signal, though Greenwood is contemplating rebuilding the aging facility and perhaps expanding the meet.

"We are delighted with the results and are appreciative of the fine work the NJSEA has done with the account-wagering system," Philly Park chief executive officer Hal Handel said.

The Internet service offers live streaming video for nearly all tracks, while the phone system features current day scratches and changes. A single account can be used to bet online, by phone, and at self-service terminals at New Jersey racetracks.

Dowd said the NJSEA has received feedback on the system, "and in the coming year, we are looking to make improvements and upgrade the user experience."