10/28/2004 11:00PM

N.J. account wagers open

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An account-wagering site owned and operated by New Jersey racetracks took its first bets on Thursday, two days before the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park.

The site, 4njbets.com, is the only legal account-wagering operation in New Jersey. A law was passed four years ago allowing for account wagering and offtrack betting, but the legislation limited the practices to a company set up by the state-owned New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

Officials for the authority said Thursday that approximately 1,000 accounts had been opened. The first wager was placed by John Tucker, the chairman of the New Jersey Racing Commission, in a ceremony on Thursday.

Currently, wagering through 4njbets.com is limited to Internet bets. The authority plans to install a system for making bets over the phone by the end of the year. Accounts will be restricted to New Jersey residents.

Partners in the account-wagering company include the New Jersey authority and Philadelphia Park and Penn National Inc. in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia Park and Penn National co-own Freehold Raceway, a harness track in New Jersey. Philadelphia Park also owns Atlantic City Race Course.