The online gambling market is no doubt a very big one, but gambling operators often participate in grey markets as well. It is also a fact that the business operates best when it gets the right kind of regulation since this protects the interests of all parties concerned, and especially that of individual gamblers. The gambling regulator in the US state of New Jersey has obviously tried to pre-empt any problems concerning the issue of grey market operations by providing clarity on its position regarding the subject.
New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) recently made its position known by publishing an advisory bulletin on the topic. The bulletin details the level of exposure to grey markets that the DGE would accept among its internet gambling licensees. David Rebuck, director of DGE, released this bulletin in order to ensure that online operators do not run into any licensing issues.
According to the DGE, grey markets are those jurisdictions where there is question about the authenticity and legality of online gaming operations. Black markets are defined as those jurisdictions where the governments have passed laws to ensure that online gambling is banned and taken concrete steps to enforce these legislations, or at least issued unambiguous official statements that internet gaming is not legal.
Based upon the above definitions, any operator which is licensed in New Jersey is prohibited to offer its services in any place which is a black market. If a New Jersey gambling licensee is found to have operated in a black market then it will be deemed to not have the required character properties necessary for a license. In other words, the company stands the risk of losing its license.
The DGE is unlikely to take any action against a gambling operator that does business in grey markets since the lack of clarity in the market will not be held against it. It also explained that this situation would be maintained as long as the jurisdiction had not yet taken any specific steps against these internet based operators.
The DGE also noted that its task isn’t very easy since legal issues can very often be interpreted especially with regards to the legality of internet based gambling in other jurisdictions. For instance, the European Union is currently at odds with a few of its member states regarding gambling issues. At the same time, the DGE also assured its licensees that it would ensure that there wouldn’t be any issues arising from differences in judgement between two country’s authority.
The issue regarding grey market activity has most probably arisen on account of the problems faced by PokerStars and Bwin.party. PokerStars which is owned by Amaya Gaming has run into problems in Russia where online poker isn’t as yet officially permitted to operate. The issue with Bwin.party has happened after the company was purchased by GVC Holdings which is believed to be a major operator in markets that do not take a kind view to online gambling. In fact, the company recently announced that it would launch operations in many markets that did not permit online gambling.