Google will allow gambling apps, advertisements and fantasy sports apps on the Play Store in Australia from 1st March, provided they follow a few guidelines.
These apps must follow all other Google Play policies, and must be approved with governmental licensing to provide a gambling service, meaning only a select few operators can supply apps. Additionally, the apps must prevent under-age users from accessing the app, and must be free to download and install.
In Australia, this means sports betting, lotteries, and fantasy sports apps will be allowed on the Play Store. Previously, users could get access to these apps but were forced to sideload them from an alternate source. Anyone who’s used SportsBet’s mobile app in Australia will know about this process, and it’s a vast improvement to have the installation handled by the Google Play process now instead of sideloading.
New Zealand users will find their apps a little more restricted – sports betting and lottery apps are restricted to governmental operators only.
Gambling advertisement requirements are also quite stringent. The advert and the app on which it is displayed must comply with laws that apply to where gambling ads can be displayed and the product which is being promoted. Apps must not display ads to users under the age of 18, and apps that have ads for gambling cannot themselves be gambling apps.
Making gambling apps available through the Play Store may increase security on such apps compared to sideloading them, but there are obvious concerns over advertisement display requirements and enforcement of the terms. We’ll see which apps make it through!