Google is putting businesses first, helping their revenue increase, by adding real money gambling applications to the Google Play Store. Android users rejoice.
By Michael P. Johnson
The Covid-19 pandemic struck the casino industry hard during the past year. As with other industries, it took everyone by surprise, hitting them where it hurt the most. People’s employment disappeared. So did their self-confidence and morale. Many had no work to speak of, and had no place to go. The industry shut its doors on both patrons and employees — some for two months, some for much longer.
After reopening, most had restrictions in place. Patrons had to wear masks and practice social distancing. Some casinos went smoke-free and shut their food outlets down. There were issues because some patrons failed to abide by specific rules put into place, so some folks stayed home. Between the closures and the restrictions, and some patrons staying home, the entire industry lost money.
There were limits on just how many people could enter a casino. Depending on your location, the number of patrons allowed in the casino was only a percentage of what it had been before Covid-19. For instance, just this month, Nevada’s governor loosened the capacity restrictions for casinos to 35% from 25%. It’s been rough for the Las Vegas Strip casinos during January 2021. They’ve made only 56% of what they made last year at this time. According to Casino.org, the Strip’s revenue was down 38% for slots and 50% for table games. Blackjack fell 53% while baccarat lost the most at 74%.
Covid-19 has destroyed a lot of in-person gambling methods. But what can be done to alleviate some of the financial pressure the casino industry faces during these difficult times? Would it make sense that bettors would want to use an internet-only option? Simply put, many people don’t want to be around others during this time. They don’t want to be around those who are coughing and hacking, even if they do have masks on their faces. It makes them nervous. So, they’d rather stay home and have fun making money on their phones.
A statement dated Jan. 28 by Google explained, “We’re updating our Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy so more developers around the world can build sustainable businesses, and in a way that helps keep consumers safe.”
According to Google’s policy center, “We allow real-money gambling apps, ads related to real-money gambling, and daily fantasy sports apps that meet certain requirements.” The gambling apps will be available on the Google Play Store in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. In the United States, four states will be able to apply to Google to get their online casino gaming apps onto the Play Store: New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
The application process will take time and is extensive. For instance, the rules state the casino must be licensed in the proper jurisdiction, and they must take extreme measures to disallow underage gambling. The restrictions can be seen as complicated. Most countries only allow lotteries if the government runs them, but some, like the UK, don’t have that restriction.
What’s allowed in the US varies on a state-by-state basis. Anyone looking to release a gambling app will have to learn the legalities due to the laws and regulations permitting specific online gambling types in the US.
Other requirements for app developers per Google:
- Developer must not offer a type of gambling product that exceeds the scope of its gambling license.
- App must prevent under-age users from using the app.
- App must prevent access and use from countries, states/territories, or the geographic areas not covered by the developer-provided gambling license.
- App must NOT be purchasable as a paid app on Google Play, nor use Google Play In-app Billing.
- App must be free to download and install from the Store.
- App must be rated AO (Adult Only) or IARC equivalent
- App and its app listing must clearly display information about responsible gambling.
Before the new policy was put into place, only four countries could offer betting on the Google Play Store: U.K., France, Ireland, and Brazil. Each country will now have its limitations on what kind of online gambling is legal. Some countries allow online casinos, sports betting, lotteries, and daily fantasy sports, and some are more restrictive.
Sports betting apps, which have been big on the iOS Apple Store for years, now get a chance to become even more significant with their addition to the Google Play Store. DraftKings confirmed the change to Online Poker Report in a statement: “As sports betting and iGaming continues to expand across the United States, we are excited that DraftKings Sportsbook and Casino apps will soon be available to download for Android users via Google Play.”
Before real money gambling apps were available for download on the Google Play Store, Android users would have to sideload the app straight from the company’s website. Sideloading isn’t tricky by any means and was always doable; however, many do not like sideloading because they have to change security settings on the Android phone they are using. It can then pose a problem.
So, in other words, people who own Android phones will now have the option to safely download their favorite real-money gambling app from the Google Play Store. And now there’s an upside for the casino industry, which has been dealt a bad blow since the pandemic. Google has helped businesses get a chance to gain more revenue through their Android customers.
About the writer: Michael P. Johnson is a technology writer from the Greater Memphis Area. Mr. Johnson has almost two decades of experience in the casino industry, utilizing tech daily. You can read more about his work on his website, or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also write to us: email@example.com