US technology giant Google is preparing to open up support for game types and operators not covered by existing licensing, paving the way for new opportunities in Brazil, Mexico and India.
The change was announced by Karan Gambhir, the director of global trust and safety partnerships at Google, in an article titled “A New Approach to Real-Money Games on Google Play” published on January 11.
Google will begin its support for operators, which will cover game types and operators not covered by an existing licensing framework, in India, Brazil and Mexico in June 2024, and plans to roll out the service to more countries in the future.
Gambhir said: “Google Play’s existing developer policies supporting user safety, such as requiring age-gating to limit RMG experiences to adults and requiring developers use geo-gating to offer RMG apps only where legal, remain unchanged and we’ll continue to strengthen them. In addition, Google Play will continue other key user safety and transparency efforts such as our expanded developer verification mechanisms.”
Google Play’s policy update will also see the company “evolving” its service fee model for gambling games; however, details on the change are not currently available.
“We are working closely with developers to ensure our new approach reflects the unique economics and various developer earning models of this industry. We will have more to share in the coming months on our new policy and future expansion plans,” Gambhir said.
Google has quickly been expanding the jurisdictions and game types where real-money games are available on its Play Store since 2021, when it added 15 new countries, including the United States. Before this change, the Google Play Store only allowed applications for regulated gambling in the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and Brazil.
In recent months, Google has “in compliance with local laws” been running a pilot programme for distributing DFS and Rummy apps to users in India as well as piloting daily fantasy sports (DFS) in Mexico. These pilots have been extended until June 30, 2024, when the new policy will take effect.
Positive feedback and learning from these successful pilots have been key to Google’s policy change.