[toc]After several weeks of speculation, Google has now removed its ban on real-money gambling applications for the UK, Ireland and France.
Each country will have its own specific Play Store, which abides by national laws.
Why is Google doing this?
It was back in 2013 when Google initially banned real-money gambling apps. The main problem back then was that it had no legitimate way of verifying a user’s age during the download and installation process on Android devices.
Although we still don’t know for sure how Google has overcome this problem, it’s clear that a solution is now in place following these recent announcements.
An official statement from Google read:
“We’re experimenting with the rollout of real money gambling apps in select markets over the next few weeks, in a way that ensures user’s safety as part of our continued effort to offer new experiences on Google Play.”
The UK’s online gambling industry has been booming over the past few years. Smart phones and Android devices are performing particularly well. The ability to bet ‘in play’ (i.e. during a sporting event, such as a football match) means more customers are gambling on these devices while out and about.
According to recode.net, Google will receive 15 percent of revenue for app subscriptions that come from downloads from its Play Store. It therefore makes a lot of financial sense that they would lift the ban on apps in such a booming market.
What does this mean for app developers?
This is excellent news for online gambling companies and customers alike. However, it won’t all be smooth sailing for app developers. There is a strict application process each developer will need to go through before Google can officially release an app through Play Store.
Companies will have to prove they operate under a valid gaming license in these countries before they can launch their app. Each app will also have to meet the requirements included on Google’s content policy page.
iGaming companies which operate in the UK, Ireland or France now have opportunities that its competitors operating in outside those countries don’t have.
888 Holdings became one of the first major operators to offer services on Google’s Play Store. The following apps are now available for download:
- 888 Casino
- 888 Sport
- 888 Poker
- Wink Slots
- Wink Bingo
Coral and Sporting Index were the other companies to take advantage of the ban removal. Coral’s full range of casino games and slots are available on Android devices. Meanwhile, Sporting Index released its sports spread betting app.
It’s clear that this decision makes sense for all concerned parties. However, lifting bans in only the UK, Ireland and France could be seen as an experiment by Google.
We’ll have to wait and see how the popularity of these apps, and the revenue Google can create from them, will inform Google’s overall strategy. But don’t be surprised to see the ban lifted in more countries soon.
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