Gambling Apps Allowed on Google Play Store in the US and 14 Other Countries

An upcoming change to Google’s Play Store policies will permit gambling Android apps that use real money in 15 countries, including the US. However, at present gambling apps are only allowed in four countries – Brazil, France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

The new rules will be functional from March 1, and gambling apps will be permitted in Australia, Belgium, Colombia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. The new policy changes in Google Play Store will allow authorized and legal gambling apps like online casino games and sports betting lotteries depending on whether these gambling apps will be allowed in approved countries.

The restrictions are extremely complicated. Most countries only permit lotteries run by the government, but some countries, like the UK, don’t have such restrictions. And moreover, the US rules vary on a state-by-state basis. Anyone planning to release a new gambling app will have to do a lot of legal homework first, considering the set of laws and regulations authorizing specific types of online gambling in the US.

The change will not be opening the gates for just anyone to release a slot machine app. Currently, Google requires developers to go through an application process to get their gambling apps on the Play Store, and the new policies will carry on with that requirement. The application should ensure that the developer is licensed to run a gambling operation and is an approved governmental operator in the specified country where the app will be sold.

Before this change, users who wanted to use gambling apps on iPhone would download them straight from the App Store, and users on Android phones would have to sideload them, a practice that Google has been discouraging.

It could be argued that many games and apps that are on the Play Store already include gambling mechanics (any game that includes loot boxes, for example, or apps that allow people to make bets on Wall Street). The apps that will be allowed under this policy will be purely made for gambling, using real money.

The main focus of the update is providing better clarity on policy requirements for loyalty program disclosures and the feature and is designed to optimize developer experience and safeguard users.


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