Google Play Store to welcome more real-money gaming apps in 2024

Google is set to broaden the horizon for real-money gaming (RMG) apps on its Play Store, according to Tom’s Guide, marking a significant shift in its app policy. Starting June 2024, the tech giant plans to extend support for more types of RMG apps, including those from operators not currently covered by existing licensing frameworks. This expansion will initially roll out in countries like India, Mexico, and Brazil, with plans to extend to additional markets in the future.

Karan Gambhir, Google’s director of global trust and safety partnerships, expressed enthusiasm about the new approach, stating it will “provide new business opportunities to developers globally while continuing to prioritize user safety.”

This move follows Google Play Store’s initial steps in 2021 to allow certain RMG apps in 15 countries, including the U.S. The decision builds on successful test pilots conducted in India and Mexico in 2022, which saw the inclusion of daily fantasy sports gambling apps and rummy apps in India. Unlike the previous policy, which only permitted RMG apps within preexisting regulatory frameworks, the updated policy will open the Play Store to new RMG game types and operators that are legal but not under any existing licensing framework.

Developers, particularly those outside the U.S., have long lobbied Google to allow more diverse types of RMG games, including online versions of local card games that lack formal regulations. The eligible game types listed on Google’s RMG support page include online casino games, sports betting, horse racing, lotteries, and daily fantasy sports.

In addition to expanding the range of RMG apps, Google is also considering revising its service fee model for subscriptions and in-app purchases within these apps. While Google has yet to disclose any specific details of the new fee structure, Gambhir noted that the updated model would reflect the value provided by Google Play and support the sustainability of the Android and Play ecosystems.

Google plans to release more information on these policy changes in the coming months. The company assures that the updated policies will include necessary safeguards like age limits and geo-restrictions to protect consumers.

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