Android device-using Australian punters now have an added layer of convenience and security to celebrate. From March 1st, they will be able to access gambling apps directly from the Google Play Store. Currently, gambling apps can only be found in the Brazilian, French, Irish, and United Kingdom Google Play Stores.
Before this development, Android users in Australia had to download apps directly from licensed casino websites. This practice has inherent risks, many of which stem from having to disable security features to install non-Play Store apps.
The new additions
The 15 new markets that can now access gambling apps via the Play Store include Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Canada, Japan, Finland, Germany, Colombia, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, Spain, Romania, and the United States.
A statement on Google’s support page read, “We allow real-money gambling apps, ads related to real-money gambling, and daily fantasy sports apps that meet certain requirements.”
While online casino games are allowed under the new policy. They will not be made available in Australia, with punters in the country being limited to lotteries, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports apps.
With Android users making up close to 50% of the mobile device market in Australia, millions of new users will now be able to make use of gambling apps and interact with targeted adverts.
Any developers seeking to add their apps to the Play Store will have to complete an application process and meet several requirements.
Online casinos have to be compliant with set industry standards and legal requirements for their country. Developers also need to have a valid gambling license and apps will be required to bear an ‘Adult Only’ rating (or IARC equivalent) to prevent underage players from getting their hands on them. The availability of apps should also be limited to their specified territories.
No paid apps will be permitted, so all will have to be available for free download and Google will exclude their in-app billing system from gambling apps.
Developers may not offer any type of gambling app that is not permitted within their gambling licenses boundaries.
Play it safe
Contrasted against the delight of eager punters, Tony Mohr, the Executive Director at the Alliance for Gambling Reform, had a sobering message to share, stating that such apps can “greatly increase the risk of people experiencing gambling harm.”
The ACMA (Australian Media and Communications Authority) has previously shut down dozens of illegal online gambling providers. The arrival of gambling app availability via the Play Store will make its job much more challenging as it will now need to monitor the influx of Play Store gambling apps to ensure their compliance.
Picking apart the mobile app market
On September 8th, 2020, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission launched a probe into the country’s mobile app market. The investigation included both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
A statement released at the time says, “The ACCC will be looking at the experiences of Australian consumers, developers, suppliers, and others in a new report scrutinising mobile app stores. They’ll examine issues such as the use and sharing of data by apps, the extent of competition between Google and Apple’s app stores, and whether more pricing transparency is needed in Australia’s mobile apps market.”
The final report from the probe is due in March of 2021.