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Google Play Gives Online Gaming Another Boost
January 31, 2021

Google Play Gives Online Gaming Another Boost

By: Nicole Kardell

We have seen commercial winners and losers in the COVID era. Online gaming has been a clear winner, with record participation during shelter-in-place times. It just received another boost thanks to a policy change at Google: Google Play recently announced it will allow gambling apps in the Google Play store starting March 1. This is a first for U.S.-based gamers who will now be able to access their favorite gaming apps without having to jump through hoops to download them on their Android devices. (Apple already allows gambling apps in the App Store).

There are still a number of requirements and restrictions that gaming operators will need to heed. But they are logical follow-ons to ensure legal and regulatory compliance. Google’s policy states that it will “only allow valid licensed or authorized gambling apps” that offer online casino games, lotteries, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports. Offerings must be within the scope of what is authorized in their jurisdictions. And developers must go through an application process to qualify.

Google’s recent announcement follows its trajectory to gradually open to more gaming and sports betting opportunities. In October and December of 2019, we wrote on Google’s announcement to allow online casinos to advertise in U.S. regulated markets. The earlier change helped to address a significant challenge that online casinos in regulated states faced: they invested big dollars to develop their products but they were hard-pressed to get the word out and build their consumer base without being able to advertise.

The latest opening at Google addresses a follow-on problem that many operators and their users faced. Wannabee players had to go the operator’s website and configure settings on their device to start playing. Access via Google Play makes the process more seamless, which supports players and operators alike.