As of Mar. 10, DraftKings is the first and so far only Android casino app available on Google Play

DraftKings Is First Out Of The Gates In The Newly Permissive Google Play Store

Legal and licensed gambling apps have been allowed in Google’s Play Store since Mar. 1. However, it took about a week for the first one to make its appearance.

As of Mar. 9, DraftKings Casino and DraftKings Sportsbook have been available for download. They are the only apps currently available that way, but this will surely change soon.

There are nearly 30 online casino apps available in the US, though many of these are specific to certain states. All have mobile apps available, usually including both Android and iOS versions. Until now, however, Android users had to download their apps directly from the operator’s website, while iOS users could find them in the App Store.

That’s had consequences for operators. Manually downloading apps requires users to change their security settings, which some may find scary.

Others may not even be aware that direct download is an option: “I was waiting for this app on Android,” reads one early Play Store review for DraftKings.

Mobile play represents a significant fraction of all real money online casino activity. Furthermore, the US mobile market is almost evenly split between Android and iOS. Making the Android apps more accessible may give operators a noticeable boost in customer acquisition.

What’s the hold up?

DraftKings may have the first app in the Play Store, but you can be sure that its competitors are attempting to follow suit as quickly as possible.

The reason there weren’t dozens of apps available on day one presumably has to do with Google’s approval process. It only announced the policy change a little over a month before implementing it. Operators therefore haven’t had a lot of time to prepare.

In order for a gambling app to be allowed in the Play Store, it must:

  • Comply with all relevant laws, and only available in areas where it is legal
  • Come from a developer holding a valid gambling license for each product type, in each jurisdiction
  • Not exceed the scope of the relevant licenses
  • Reliably implement geolocation technology
  • Reliably implement age verification, and have an Adult Only or equivalent rating
  • Be free to download and install
  • Feature prominent responsible gambling messaging

Of course, all legal gambling apps should meet all those criteria to begin with. However, it means more things for Google’s team to verify before authorizing such apps.

For a normal, non-gambling app, it typically takes 3 to 6 business days for an app to go live on the Play Store once submitted. Add another couple of days due to the additional requirements, and DraftKings’ appearance is right on schedule.

Market leader enjoys first mover advantage

It shouldn’t be surprising that DraftKings is the first to go live. It’s the nature of the industry that bigger companies often tend to navigate such processes more quickly.

DraftKings is indeed very big. Determining an overall market leader is tricky for a few reasons, mainly that New Jersey and Pennsylvania don’t break down online gambling revenue by operator, only by licensee.

However, it is at least in a three-way battle for the top spot with BetMGM and long-time rival FanDuel. In PA, it operates on the number one license, held by Penn National. In NJ, it is partnered with Resorts, which holds the number three spot.

It was also the first site to launch in West Virginia last summer. This makes it, along with BetMGM, one of the only two operators active in every iGaming state. Those same two also debuted in the top two spots in Michigan’s new market, though with only ten days worth of revenue data available so far, that could quickly change.

However one evaluates DraftKings’ current position in that race, one thing is clear. Being quick out of the gates on the Play Store can only help it in its quest for market dominance.

- Alex is a journalist from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. Now site runner for Online Poker Report, he has been writing about poker and the online gambling industry in various capacities since 2014.
Privacy Policy