- Google plans to add support for more real-money games (RMG) on the Play Store to convince developers who want to reach out to more Android users.
- The search giant has extended its RMG pilot program in India, Mexico, and Brazil until June 30 and is also exploring a new fee structure that will allow the apps to leverage external payment mechanisms.
- Under the revamped policy, Google will list RMG apps such as online casino games and sports betting platforms if they are legal under an established regulatory framework in the respective country.
Google has announced that it plans to soon support more real-money games (RMGs), which allow Android users to deposit money to possibly win big, on the Play Store.
Previously, the tech giant only allowed RMG apps that functioned on government-established regulatory frameworks. The Play Store used these regulations to determine whether to approve or deny the apps. The approach meant that Google rejected games that were legal but did not have explicit rules governing their availability.
Google Working On Allowing Real-Money Games That Are Legal On The Play Store
Back in 2021, Google allowed gambling and betting games to be listed on its app store. The search giant now says the program will be extended this year with added support for RMGs, starting with India, Brazil, and Mexico in June. The roll-out for other countries will be announced at a later date.
Google said it will support RMG game types and operators that are “not covered” by any existing licensing framework but are otherwise legal. In addition to Google’s policies, developers will also have to meet all existing local guidelines to be able to list their RMG apps.
In 2022, Google piloted the program in India, allowing fantasy sports and Rummy apps on the local version of its Android app store. Last year, Google extended the grace period until January 15. With the latest announcement, the already approved pilot RMGs will continue to be available on the Play Store until June 30.
A similar program is also being conducted in Mexico.
Once the grace period ends, developers will be allowed to publish their real-money gaming apps on the Play Store beyond fantasy sports categories. The pilot has regulations surrounding age limits, identity verification, and geo-restrictions. Google said it will publish detailed policies in the coming months.
The RMG apps currently allowed in the Play Store are governed by regulation. These include online casino games, sports betting, horse racing, lotteries, and fantasy sports games that are only offered in the countries where they are legal.
App developers have been pleading with Google to allow them to build more types of real-money games such as online versions of local card games, which aren’t established enough to have regulation in place.
Before expanding its RMG policy, Google ran local pilots to determine how to support more RMG operators and game types. Many Indian developers were eager to bring RMG apps to more Android users, which led to the company launching the pilot program in the first place.
Google To Introduce New Fee Structure While Allowing Developers To Use External Payment Channels
Meanwhile, the tech behemoth is also exploring a new fee structure that will be key to Play Store’s revenue model as the company is facing increased scrutiny from global regulators to allow developers to use payment methods other than Google’s own.
Previously, RMG apps were free to install but couldn’t use Google Play Billing. For this reason, Google did not charge any service fee from developers. But that is all set to change with the revamped RMG model.
In 2020, Google pulled out the app of Indian payment services company Paytm from the Play Store after its developers included fantasy sports elements into it.
Under the user-choice billing program that was piloted in 2022, Google provides a 4% discount on service fees. This model is expected to carry on as more partners are reportedly joining in.