Google says real money mobile gambling apps are now allowed on the Google Play store after years of bans and restrictions on gaming operators.
Mobile apps development specialist Degree53, which is licensed and regulated by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, reports Google has emailed several gambling operators (Degree53 works with Betfred and 888 Holdings) about changes in Google Play’s gaming policies.
Google previously took a hard stance against any apps offering casino, sports betting or online slots due to the company being unable to guarantee appropriate age restriction on said apps.
The only way casino and sports betting operators could distribute their own apps on Android was independently or through third-party channels.
Given Android OS-powered mobile smartphones and tablets hold 50% market share in the UK, the restrictions limited gambling apps exposure to new customers, made pushing updates to mobile apps problematic, and cost a ton of good business from a booming market.
However, from the “beginning of August 2017, Google will accept applications for the distribution of gambling apps within the Play store in the United Kingdom, France and the Republic of Ireland,” according to the email sent to Degree53.
It clarified “at a later date, this policy change may be expanded to new regions and countries.”
Mobile casinos and mobile betting sites which employ gambling app developers to make an app version of their site must provide documentation for the apps, including relevant licenses for the countries and regions they wish to target, to successfully be accepted by Google and hosted on the Google Play marketplace.
Google Play’s change of heart comes when rival Apple iOS has allowed gambling apps on its Apple Apps Store for some time, but the shift will allow affiliates and operators to invest more heavily into the Android ecosystem, make better quality apps and cater to their customers utilising these devices.
Author’s comments: Currently, most major online casinos and online sportsbooks have mobile versions of their sites, automatically optimised and scaled for the smaller screens and touch-based inputs of Apple iOS, Android, Samsung and Windows smartphones and tablets. Players can already play for real money on their mobile devices without needing to download any apps via instant-play in their Web browsers, but gambling apps have persisted as a popular alternative. With Android opening up Google Play, we can finally expect to see some much higher quality mobile casino apps and mobile betting site apps for Android users – and it’s long overdue.