- Google has updated their developer terms and conditions to allow real money gaming apps in 15 more countries.
- Previously, gaming apps were available only to users in the UK, France, Brazil and Ireland.
- The result has been that even in legal jurisdictions players must download apps direct from operators.
The mainstreaming of sports betting continues. Earlier today, Google released updated terms and conditions for developers that expanded the availability of real money gaming apps to 15 additional countries. Previously, real money gaming apps were available in only four countries: Brazil, the UK, France and Ireland. The new guidelines will go into effect on March 1, 2021.
Previously, this forced players in countless legal jurisdictions to jump through a few additional hoops. They would have to download the app from the gaming provider’s website and adjust the security settings on their Android device in order to install a sports betting or other gaming app. With the exception of a bit of momentary settings adjustments this was no big deal assuming that you were dealing with a well regarded operator. A bigger issue was the ability of ‘copycat’ and ‘phishing’ sites to theoretically entice users into downloading malware disguised as a well known brand’s app. I’d imagine that Google’s motivation is as much to enhance security as it is to make things more convenient for gaming enthusiasts.
In fact, Google emphasized the safety issue front and center in making the announcement of the new policy:
We’re updating our Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy so more developers around the world can build sustainable businesses, and in a way that helps keep consumers safe.
The new markets that will now have access to gaming apps through the Play Store are: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the USA.
There are still plenty of restrictions and conditions that developers must meet:
Subject to restrictions and compliance with all Google Play policies, we allow apps that enable or facilitate online gambling in the following countries in the table below as long as the developer completes the application process for gambling apps being distributed on Play, is an approved governmental operator and/or is registered as a licensed operator with the appropriate governmental gambling authority in the specified country, and provides a valid operating licence in the specified country for the type of online gambling product that they want to offer.
We only allow valid licensed or authorised gambling apps that have the following types of online gambling products (please consult the table below for the specific types of gambling products allowed in each country):
–Online casino games
–Daily Fantasy Sports
If you’re interested in digging through the guidelines you can do so here:
The next thing that betting app developers are waiting to see is if Google will mandate any conditions that directly impact design and user experience. Here’s what gaming developer Degree 53 said about this concern:
“We’re yet to see if Google will also bring any rules regarding app design and UX, similar to Apple’s Design Guidelines concerning container apps.”
“We advise all app owners to create their apps with the latest design trends and as much native functionality as possible to futureproof their products and create an enjoyable experience for their customer”.
Ultimately, this is a good thing even if the T&C’s are a bit overbearing. Any sign of the further mainstreaming of sports betting can only be beneficial going forward. Look for all of the major US gaming providers to get their app in the Google Play Store ASAP after March 1.