In July 2017 rumours of an imminent change in Google’s policy towards gambling apps started circulating. For years, Google has banned gambling apps for real money at the Play Store. Industry insiders have confirmed that Google’s policy is changing, starting with players in France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. These details are evident at the developer policy page, vis-à-vis real money gambling apps at the aforementioned countries. The most important updates relate to the following:
‘We allow content, services and ads that facilitate online gambling, as long as they meet the following requirements: Gambling apps currently permitted in the UK, Ireland and France only…’
This is a major break from Google’s prior stance which was vehemently opposed to promoting online gambling apps. According to the new guidelines, providers will be required to comply with a strict set of criteria for real money gambling apps. Additionally, the gambling providers will be required to verify details of their licensing and regulation in the countries where they will be distributing their apps (France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom).
Online Gambling Companies Seek Play Store Listing
All local, state, regional and country laws must be adhered to while the applications are being considered. Additionally, Google is insisting that the online gambling companies enact strict policies to safeguard minors. Geolocation tracking software must be implemented to prevent countries other than the aforesaid from participating in real money online gambling.
Several other important requirements must be met by gambling providers, including the following:
- Responsible Gaming Conduct must be actively promoted
- The Real-Money Gambling Apps must be free to download and install
- No Google Payment Services will be allowed (example Play Store Credit)
Google will maintain its position on marketing of gambling-related content in its Play Store apps. According to the strict guidelines laid out by Google, advertisements must comply with local industry requirements and standards and licensing and regulation must be adhered to at all times. Nobody under the age of 18 can see the gambling-related advertisements.
This means that any apps that are being promoted at the Play Store must explicitly prevent minors from downloading and installing them. Google’s stipulations also apply to simulated gambling apps for Android devices, especially where it relates to real money gambling. Google has loosened the reins considerably, but these high standards all but guarantee that responsible gaming will be maintained at the Play Store.
Why Google’s Announcement is a Big Deal for Android Players
The Android system is the most popular mobile operating system in the world. Any change to the rules and regulations of mobile gaming in the UK, France and Ireland is a big deal for operators. The App Store has relaxed requirements when it comes to online gaming, and now the Play Store is playing catch-up. Players at leading online casinos, and online bingo rooms have had to download the android apps direct from the website, or from third-party websites. This severely limited exposure to a wide global audience of players.
At the beginning of July 2017, Degree53 broke the news of Google’s decision which came via email. This digital agency includes many of the world’s biggest online gaming operators such as 888 Holdings PLC, Betfred and OddsChecker. The changes in Google’s policy are taking place in August 2017. Pending the rollout, Google is amenable to expanding real-money gambling apps to other countries and destinations. The process of being accepted at the Google Play Store is a time-consuming one, and fraught with bureaucratic red tape.
Did Betcade Closure Prompt Response from Google?
Once the real-money gambling apps are released to players in those countries, a wide range of online casino games, online slots, online bingo games and casual gambling games will be available to players. For years, Google’s android system prohibited online gambling games, thereby giving rise to Betcade. This third-party platform for android apps lasted 1.5 years before it closed shop. Google’s decision to revise its policy may be related to Betcade’s closure.