Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Gambling Apps Finally Allowed by Google in 15 Countries but Not in India

Punjab News Line | February 20, 2021 03:45 PM

Google recently published an updated program policy on gambling that will allow gambling apps to be downloaded in 15 more countries. This will be effective on March 1 and by then, a total of 19 countries will be able to download gambling apps on Play Store.

“We’re updating our Real-Money Gambling Games and Contests policy so more developers around the world can build sustainable businesses, and in a way that helps keep consumers safe,” according to a blog post by Google.

Currently, only four countries can download gambling apps on the Play Store, and the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, and Brazil are all part of the list. With the new policies, the following 15 countries will be added to that list:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Romania
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United States

Many were hoping that India will also be part of the list but Goggle hasn’t made any comments on how they selected the countries. They most likely based it on countries that already started to have regulated online gambling and for now, this isn’t exactly the case for India.

Despite this, IPL betting offers and promotions are still popular as the next season of the IPL approaches. The locals are still free to place their bets online as long as the bookie or casino is located offshore and is offering Indian Rupee as a payment option.

What Google Will and Will NotAllow

It is stated on the new policy that app developers should ensure that their application would fall in one of four categories that are online casino games, lotteries, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports. They will have to go through a thorough application process. Their app should also have an international Age Rating Coalition (IARC) content rating.

The developers are also required to have requirements for people to be able to access their services. This is to ensure that no minor will have access to any gambling activities. The app should also comply with all applicable laws and industry standards that the country of distribution has and so they must carry a gambling license from the country as well.

If the app to be offered doesn’t fall under any of the allowed categories, Google states that they will not allow content or services that enable or facilitate customer’s ability to wager with real money to be eligible for a prize with a monetary value to the real world.

About gamified loyalty programs, this can be allowed as long as it is also permitted by law and is not subject to additional gambling licensing requirements. Prizes with real-world monetary value are allowed for this as long as it is at par with the existing eligibility requirements that Play Store has.

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are also allowed as long as applicable local laws are followed and met. Google has specific application forms to complete for DFS. DFS should never be offered to countries where it is still considered illegal. All-in-all, gambling apps should be free to download or not purchasable. 

Gambling Ads Will Also beAllowed

It’s also stated that the apps will be allowed to advertise gambling if they meet Google’s specified requirements. However, if a country already has a regulation imposed on any gambling-related ads like how things are in the United Kingdom, it should be followed.

These items will fall under advertisement violations:

  • App seemingly designed for minors
  • Stimulated casino games
  • Dedicated sports odds tracker app that is integrated with gambling ads that leads to a gambling site
  • Deceptive ads with buttons or icons that could lead users to a gambling site

What About Games with Loot Boxes?

The new policy didn’t mention any items related to loot box gaming. The Loot Box System (LBS) in mobile games like PUBG, Call of Duty, and FIFA is still a hot topic in many countries. Many are already pushing for this to be regulated as they also consider this as a form of gambling.

For now, Google only requires games with LBS to disclose the odds that players can get from getting the prizes from crates or boxes. So far, countries like Belgium and China have regulations on such games. China only allows players to purchase a limited number of loot boxes daily.

Countries like the UK are also still looking into this matter. The House of Lords made the news last year when they pushed for the immediate regulation of loot box gaming as based on the evidence they submitted, it could also lead to addiction.

For now, many are already looking forward to being able to download gambling apps from the Play Store itself as this is more convenient and less of a hassle.

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