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This is a developing story and will be updated.
Gambling apps will be allowed in the Google Play store in the United States for the first time, according to a change in Google’s Developer Program Policy.
According to Google’s policy center, “We allow real-money gambling apps, ads related to real-money gambling, and daily fantasy sports apps that meet certain requirements,” effective March 1. Terms for developers to apply for inclusion in the US can be found in the policy update.
The change applies to US online casino apps, online lotteries, and sportsbook apps. Google has previously made the decision to allow gambling apps in certain other countries, such as the United Kingdom.
DraftKings confirmed the change to Online Poker Report in a statement:
“As sports betting and iGaming continues to expand across the United States, we are excited that DraftKings Sportsbook and Casino apps will soon be available to download for Android users via Google Play.”
The news was first reported by Reuters.
It’s a major change that should help online gambling operators across the spectrum in the US. At the moment, Android users can only obtain online casino, sportsbook, and poker apps via direct download from the operator’s website. This also requires changing the security settings on the device, which can seem scary to some users.
That less-than-streamlined process likely means gambling operators don’t fully realize their addressable audience of Android users. Getting their apps onto the Play store will change that situation for the better.
Unfortunately, Google has decided to impose the restriction that such apps can only be downloaded from a location where they’re legal to use. This may be a burden for cross-border gamblers. For instance, a Virginia sports betting app can only be downloaded within the borders of Virginia. A resident of a neighboring state can’t download it in advance, even if they’re planning on crossing the border before placing a bet.
Gambling apps are already available on the App Store for Apple devices in the US.
Here is what Google wrote in its gambling policy:
Subject to restrictions and compliance with all Google Play policies, we allow apps that enable or facilitate online gambling in the following countries in the table below as long as the Developer completes the application process for gambling apps being distributed on Play, is an approved governmental operator and/or is registered as a licensed operator with the appropriate governmental gambling authority in the specified country, and provides a valid operating license in the specified country for the type of online gambling product they want to offer.
We only allow valid licensed or authorized gambling apps that have the following types of online gambling products (please consult the table below for the specific types of gambling products allowed in each country):