You could start seeing more gambling apps pop up in the Google Play store soon.
This week, Google announced plans to support more real-money gaming (RMG) apps on the Play Store, which includes offering more types of games as well as apps from operators "not covered by an existing licensing framework" in 2024, according to an Android Developers Blog. The search giant said it's expanding support for RMG apps in certain countries beginning in June 2024, including India, Mexico, and Brazil, with rollout in more countries planned in the future.
"We’re pleased that this new approach will provide new business opportunities to developers globally while continuing to prioritize user safety," wrote Google's director of global trust and safety partnerships, Karan Gambhir.
Google's efforts to include RMG apps, which see users put in real-world money for the possibility of winning more, on the Play Store kicked off in 2021 when it began allowing certain RMG apps in 15 new countries, including the U.S. This latest decision follows early test pilots in India and Mexico in 2022 allowing certain types of RMG apps such as daily fantasy sports gambling apps in both countries and rummy apps in India. Previously, Google only allowed RMG apps on its Play Store that governments had preexisting regulatory frameworks regarding their use. Moving forward, Google Play will soon open up its Play Store to new RMG game types and operators that are not under an existing licensing framework but are otherwise legal. Of course, developers will still have to meet all existing local guidelines in addition to Google policies.
Google's RMG support page currently lists the eligible game types as online casino games, sports betting, horse racing (where regulated and licensed separately from sports betting), lotteries, and daily fantasy sports. App developers, especially those abroad, have been pushing Google for years to allow more types of RMG games, including online versions of local card games that aren't common/old enough to have regulations in place.
Additionally, Google is also exploring a potential revision to its service fee model for subscriptions and in-app purchases. However, it didn't reveal specific details about what kind of cut developers can expect the search giant to take.
“With this policy update, we will also be evolving our service fee model for RMG to reflect the value Google Play provides and to help sustain the Android and Play ecosystems," Gambhir wrote. "We are working closely with developers to ensure our new approach reflects the unique economics and various developer earning models of this industry.”
Google said it will publish more details in the next few months, but it assured that these updated policies will include guardrails such as age limits and geo-restrictions to protect consumers.
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Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment.
Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats. She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.