The rumours that Google intended to lift the ban on real-money gambling apps in their Google Play Store over the last few months have finally come to pass. The big news has finally been made official with Google’s recent updates in its policy centre. The tech behemoth have also released information to gambling operators on how best to get their products in the play store.
Conditions for Real Money Gambling App Operators
As always, Google have publicly released at least some of the rules and operator requirements that will help real money gambling app operators get a place in the store. Operators must hold a valid license to provide gambling services in a regulated jurisdiction. Another massive requirement, is the demonstration of enough commitment and ability to prevent problem gambling and underage gambling. Along with significant measures to prevent the use of the app in countries where the license isn’t valid. Google staff generally adhere to much more detailed criteria than they release to the public, so it remains to be seen how easily operators will get their apps displayed.
Google have announced that currently, real money gambling apps will only be accessible in Play stores in Ireland, the UK and France. Players will also continue to be restricted from using Google payments services like Google Play In-app Billing, meaning they’ll have to enter payment details to purchase real money apps.
Related Changes to Google Policy
In addition to the relaxation of Google’s stance on gambling apps, another related internal ban they’ve lifted is the one on gambling advertising within Google Play-distributed apps. The same restrictions that apply to the Gambling Apps in the areas of licensing, age-appropriateness and responsible gambling, also apply to gambling advertising.
The History of Real Money iGaming Apps
Since Google banned real money gambling apps in 2013, Apple IOS led iGaming market share by 34.8%. Googles return to real money play should really shake up the market. The company’s return to offering real-money daily fantasy sports apps in the US Google Play store was an extremely lucrative move for the company.
The Android vs IOS Rivalry
The Android vs IOS Rivalry is likely to have been more of an incentive to join the real money gambling market than any moral argument against facilitating gambling. Business Insider have said the European real money gambling app market is expected to grow 15% year on year, generating nearly $15 billion annually, according to the European Commission.
Official Google Statement
A spokesperson for Google said, “We’re experimenting with the rollout of real money gambling apps in select markets over the next few weeks, in a way that ensures user’s safety as part of our continued effort to offer new experiences on Google Play.”
Watching the Change
Google’s decision to allow real money gambling apps back in the Play Store is still in an experimental phase. Time will tell how factors like revenues, competition and popularity of downloads will inform Google’s next move.