Google is known to be very strict when it comes to distributing real-money gambling apps. However, that's about to change as the tech giant gradually relaxes its blanket ban on real-money gambling products. Google is planning to allow the distribution of these apps in 15 more countries.
Google revised its policies concerning real-money gambling apps in 2013. In the new law, the company placed a blanket ban on apps facilitating online gambling. That includes sports betting, online casinos, and lotteries.
But a few years ago, in July 2017, Google announced that it would be allowing gambling apps in the UK, Ireland and France. Apparently, these markets were pilot projects to see society's reaction before going all-out in other betting-friendly markets.
Surprisingly, a Statista comparison between Google Play Store and Apple's App Store shows that the former distributes more free apps. Free apps make up 95% of Google Play's top-100 highest-grossing applications in the US. That is huge compared to iPhone's 77% and iPad's 69%. But similar can't be said when it comes to iOS real-money gambling apps.
To play catchup with iOS when it comes to real-money betting, Google has decided to distribute these apps in 15 more nations, including the US. Currently, only bettors in the UK, France, Ireland, and Brazil can access Google Play Store's gambling apps.
Meanwhile, the new regulations will roll out starting March 1, 2021. The company will permit betting apps in Belgium, Australia, the US, Germany, Finland, Japan, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Colombia, Canada, Denmark, and Romania.
But of course, jurisdictions have varying rules regarding the type of online gambling apps players can access. Some countries allow sports betting, lotteries, online casinos, and daily fantasy sports. So, be sure to do the legal homework first to avoid any disappointments.
As expected, the change won't open floodgates for every Tom, Dick, and Harry to release slot machine apps. That's because there is a set of rules to comply with before Google can distribute a gambling app in the allowed jurisdictions.
For starters, the developer should complete a successful application process to distribute the app. Also, the developer must obtain a valid gambling license from the state or territory in which he/she wishes to distribute the app.
In addition to that, the app shouldn't be purchasable on Google Play, and neither can it use Google Play's in-app billing. In short, the app should be free to download directly from the Play Store.
Plus, the app must prevent underage gambling by being rated Adults Only (AO) or IARC equivalent. In conclusion, a developer must meet all Google Play's gambling app requirements before distributing their services on the platform.
Mobile casinos and sportsbooks are already growing leaps and bounds, thanks to improved mobile technology. But until recently, gambling operators were restricted to distributing their Android apps through third-party channels or their own websites. In return, it's challenging for punters to find and install an APK. Also, operators can't promote and maintain the apps appropriately.
But with Google now gradually opening its gates for gambling apps, both online gambling operators and players are set to gain immensely. According to a January 2021 research, Android is still the world's leading mobile OS with a market share of 71.93%. The study adds that both Android and iOS make up 99% of the overall global market share. All said and done, Google will still be a fan-favorite, at least in the meantime.