Aussies do like a wager, and those who use Android will soon find it easier to get an app for their favourite service. Google has announced overnight that they begin will allow gambling apps on the Play Store in Australia, and 13 other markets around the world from March 1st.
The policy change – announced on the Google Play Developer Console – will allow ‘real-money gambling apps, ads related to real-money gambling, and daily fantasy sports apps’ to be listed on the Google Play store, doing away with the current method of downloading an APK from the gambling apps site and then side-loading it.
Having the apps officially available through the Google Play store will allow Google to scan the app, like they do all apps on the Play Store, in order to protect users from any malicious code.
The change affects users in 14 new markets which includes Australia, with Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United States also getting access at the same time. Previously only users in Brazil, Ireland, France and the UK were able to install these types of apps.
Apple has allowed gambling apps on the iOS app store for some time now, though with restrictions on age, location and more in place. Google too will have restrictions on these apps once they go live, requiring an AO (Adults Only) rating attached to these apps, among other things.
In Australia, Google says on their site that they will specifically allow Sports betting, Lotteries and Daily Fantasy Sports apps, ‘Subject to the application and licensing requirements above”.
The addition of gambling apps to Google play will have to be done carefully. Tony Mohr, Executive Director, Alliance for Gambling Reform says that ‘Providing online gambling to Australians is illegal unless the gambling company is registered and licensed in Australia for Australian operations‘. This provides among other things consumer protections for Australians.
The Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) has previously forced the shutdown of dozens of illegal online gambling providers. Any entity attempting to make an app available on Google Play without jumping through the correct hoops would be similarly shut down.
Having easier access to gambling apps on phones ‘can can greatly increase the risk of people experiencing gambling harm’ said Mr Mohr.
It’s important to Gamble Responsibly, and if you do, then the benefit of having apps available from a reputable and monitored source is a benefit for those who intend to use them. You should begin to see gambling apps on Google Play from March 1st.