Google Play Store to allow gambling apps in Australia from March 2022

by Charlotte Lee Last Updated
Google Play Store to allow gambling apps in Australia from March 2022

Gambling apps will appear on the Google Play Store for the first time in a host of countries, including Australia, in a boost to the Android mobile gambling market.

Tech Guide reports that access was only previously granted in four countries: Brazil, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

That is now set to increase to 19 countries.

A statement confirmed the policy changes will come into effect from March 1, 2022 and that gambling apps will be added in 15 countries.

These are Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the US.

There is no detailed information about each individual US state, who will set their own limitations accordingly.

Google amended its policy to give developers the opportunity to release gambling related applications on the Play Store upon passing an application process.

A screening process is in place for prospective developers wishing to release gambling related apps.

The screening will check if the operators work in strict compliance with the relevant government gambling authorities, holding the correct licences and work within the consumers’ best interests in mind.

The news is welcome for those involved in the mobile gambling industry, especially for those working on Android focused applications, who have long been behind their Apple counterparts.

Apple already has made applications offering real-money gaming and lotteries available in the market for some time, something Google has yet to do.

Google stated that the move to allow these types of applications in more Play Store countries was to encourage more developers to start a sustainable business.

For the time being, Google has not allowed real-money gaming applications or video games, where players compete against each other in skills-based competitive games.

With more countries added to the Play Store list and more applications on offer, the mobile gambling market is expected to continue to grow.

Developers will have to fine tune their digital marketing strategy in order to stay competitive, with many businesses failing to survive the pandemic because of not focusing enough on finding new investment from sponsorship and stakeholders by using digital marketing and executing a solid plan correctly.

Online gambling searches soar in the UK

In March, it was reported that search interest in online casinos hit an all-time high in the UK during 2020, when lockdowns began.

Google Trends showed gambling moved online amid the closure of physical gambling venues and the cancellation of sports events.

Problem gamblers said the lockdown measures were a “recipe for disaster”.

Watchdog, the Gambling Commission, said there had been a rise in some online gambling, but there was no evidence yet of a rise in problem gambling.

Despite an overall drop in gambling, the commission said across the industry, there had been an increase in some customers playing online slots, poker, casino gaming and virtual sports.

Engaged gamblers are also spending more time or money during lockdown.

Anna Hemmings, chief executive of GamCare, a UK charity to help with problem gambling, said there was a “concerning context for people at risk”.

She said “contributing factors to gambling problems such as financial distress, isolation and boredom”, were increasing with COVID-19.

The watchdog has given new guidelines to gambling companies to help their customers.

“We are monitoring online operators closely and if we see irresponsible behaviour, we will step in immediately, suspending licences if we need to,” commission chief executive Neil McArthur said.

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