Until now, the Google ecosystem has been fairly tight in Australia when it comes to lotteries, casino, gambling and fantasy betting apps. However, a new change in Google’s developer policy will open the doors to Australian Android users a little further.
As spotted by 9to5Google, Google has announced a change that would permit certain real money gambling apps to be downloaded directly from the Google Play store. Gambling apps have been usable by Australian Android users before, but you’ve had to download them as separate APK files, not directly through the user store.
From March 1 this year, that policy will change. “We allow real-money gambling apps, ads related to real-money gambling, and daily fantasy sports apps that meet certain requirements,” a new policy on Google’s support page says.
It’s worth noting that while online casino games will be approved under Google’s new policy, they won’t be approved for distribution through Google Play in Australia.
There’s a form developers have to fill out for approval, and developers have to be either government-approved or a registered licensed operator within Australia to get Google Play distribution. But provided that’s all done, it opens the floodgates for millions of Australian Android users to access — and be notified about via promoted ads — gambling apps that would have never been accessible before.
Given how much Australians historically love to bet, this is a huge change. Android devices account for just under half of all mobile devices in Australia, although exactly how much depends on what chart you look at.
It’s also a potential problem in esports, a scene where betting is an ever-growing threat to competitive integrity. And given Aussie bookies already take bets on all sorts of esports — even Rocket League markets are open these days — it’s hard not to see this drawing even more dollars, and potential suspect behaviour, to the local scene. Betting in esports locally is already possible, obviously. But as with everything in life, whenever you make something that people like doing easier, they tend to do more of it.
Currently, Google Play only distributes online gambling apps in France, the United Kingdom and Ireland, with limited provisions available for certain apps in Brazil.