What’s the difference between grey market and black market online gambling? That’s a question with some very real consequences for US-facing operators and it’s one the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) recently took on in a memo titled, Impact of Operation in Grey Markets on Suitability for Licensure.

Despite its clunky title, the memo is a treasure trove of information for operators and offers some clarity on an issue that’s vexed the US online gambling market for years.

Grey markets, according to the DGE, are:

…jurisdictions where the legality of internet gaming operations is an open question….Where a jurisdiction has refrained from taking any affirmative, concrete action to prevent an internet gaming market from developing withing its border, the Division will consider such a jurisdiction a grey market for the purposes of assessing suitability under the Act.

While a grey market is no big deal to an operator (a player is a player no matter where they live) they’re a very big deal to regulators who want to keep their operations squeaky clean. Unfortunately, establishing which markets are grey, and why, is a pretty challenging affair and the DGE acknowledges as much in their memo.

The DGE also acknowledges that it’s not really in a position where it can divine exactly why other online gambling markets are in flux, particularly those in European Union countries. To that end, the DGE recognizes that some EU governments are actively blocking legitimate competition in their gaming markets.

Rather than issuing a blanket ruling on grey markets, the DGE has decided to take a more flexible approach and will approach each instance of alleged grey market activity on a case-by-case basis.

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