Google Play Store to list gambling apps in 15 countries

Google has announced changes to its Developer Programme Policy that will allow gambling apps to be listed on its Play Store in 15 countries.

The online search engine and technology giant Google has announced several changes to its Developer Programme Policy which will allow users in 15 countries, including the US, to download gambling apps from the Google Play Store.

At the moment gambling apps are only available on the UK, French and Irish version of the Play Store. Brazilian users can also download horse racing and lottery apps operated by the country’s central bank Caixa Econômica Federal via the store. 

Which countries are included in the update?

The change to the Policy will come into effect from 1 March 2020 and will allow the gambling to be downloaded from the Australian, Belgian, Canadian, Colombian, Danish, Finnish, German, Japanese, Mexican, New Zealand, Norwegian, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish and US Play Stores.

According to Google’s policy center, effective from March, “We allow real-money gambling apps, ads related to real-money gambling, and daily fantasy sports apps that meet certain requirements.”

The change will allow online casino apps, online lotteries, sportsbooks and daily fantasy sports apps to be listed on Google Play Stores in the new 15 countries.

How will this look in different countries?

As each jurisdiction’s gambling market is slightly different the apps available will differ between markets. 

In Finland, only apps operated by Veikkaus, which holds a monopoly on the market will be available on the Play store.

In Germany, only state lottery and sports betting apps will be available despite the pending licensing of online casino gambling and poker which is set to come into effect in July.

In Norway, there does not appear to be any restrictions on which operators can offer apps on the country’s Play Store. However, Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto are the only legal operators in the country.

For the US market, the Play Store must meet the state regulations for each individual US state. This means that sports betting apps will only be available for download in states with legal betting such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The same will apply to online casino, poker and daily fantasy sports apps.

Google’s terms

Before a gambling app can be listed on the Play Store it must meet Google’s terms and conditions and go through a robust selection process.

Developers must complete an application to have the app listed and each app must comply with the jurisdiction’s laws and regulations. On top of this, the developer must hold a valid gambling licence for each jurisdiction where the app will be listed.

Apps must also be free to download and not use the Store’s in-app billing function, and there must be safeguards in place to prevent minors from using the apps.

Lastly, the app’s listing on the Store must display responsible gambling information.

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