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US – Google expands Real-Money Games on Google Play

By - 19 January 2024

Google has announced that Google Play will begin supporting more Real-Money Games (RMG) apps this year, including game types and operators not covered by the existing licensing framework.

In 2021, Google began onboarding a wider range of RMG apps in markets with pre-existing licensing frameworks. Since then, this app category has continued to grow with developers creating new RMG experiences for mobile. Real-Money Games are apps where users can wager real money with chances to win more. Examples include Blackout Bingo, Solitaire Cash, and FanDuel Fantasy Sports.

“To ensure Google Play keeps up with the pace of developer innovation, while promoting user safety, we’ve since conducted several pilot programmes to determine how to support more RMG operators and game types,” explained Karan Gambhir – Director, Global Trust and Safety Partnerships, Google. “For example, many developers in India were eager to bring RMG apps to more Android users, so we launched a pilot programme, starting with Rummy and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), to understand the best way to support their businesses.”

The change means that RMG developers and marketers can now innovate beyond traditional frameworks, reaching a wider audience. However, this expansion, combined with Google’s recent policy allowing sports betting ads in app campaigns, could also drive advertising costs higher due to increased competition, impacting the overall app market on Google Play.

Google is set to launch this expanded RMG support in June, 2024 to developers for their users in India, Mexico, and Brazil, and plans to expand to users in more countries in the future. The expansion also enables developers currently participating in RMG pilots in India and Mexico to continue offering their apps on Play.

  • India pilot: For developers in the Google Play Pilot Program for distributing DFS and Rummy apps to users in India, Google is extending the grace period for pilot apps to remain on Google Play until June 30, 2024 when the new policy will take effect. After that time, developers can distribute RMG apps on Google Play to users in India, beyond DFS and Rummy, in compliance with local laws and our updated policy.
  • Mexico pilot: For developers in the Google Play Pilot Program for DFS in Mexico, the pilot will end as scheduled on June 30, 2024, at which point developers can distribute RMG apps on Google Play to users in Mexico, beyond DFS, in compliance with local laws and our updated policy.

“Google Play’s existing developer policies supporting user safety, such as requiring age-gating to limit RMG experiences to adults and requiring developers use geo-gating to offer RMG apps only where legal, remain unchanged and we’ll continue to strengthen them,” stated Gambhir. “In addition, Google Play will continue other key user safety and transparency efforts such as our expanded developer verification mechanisms.

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