Google recently allowed access to gambling apps in 15 more countries, stretching the total number to 19. Australia is one of the countries that will see gambling operators avail their apps to the Google Play Store. According to the statement from Google, each operator will have to go through a comprehensive screening process to ensure they are complying with all set requirements. Below is an overview of the new regulations, including the types of gambling products accepted.
Australia among Allowed Countries
Australia is one of the new 15 countries that will be able to provide apps that enable or facilitate gambling. However, Aussie operators won’t have access to all types of gambling apps. According to Google, apps will be allowed for various betting products, including online casino games, sports betting, horse racing, lotteries, and daily fantasy sports. Australia isn’t allowed to provide online casino apps just yet. However, operators will be free to develop lottery and sports betting apps, including Daily Fantasy Sports where legal.
The Application Process
All operators intending to provide sports betting and lottery Android apps will have to complete the application process. Google already has a form that operators can fill in online to submit their applications for review. The screening features various requirements, including the following key aspects:
- Legitimate Gambling License
All operators that wish to offer Android gambling apps for their players will have to provide a relevant license from credible gambling authorities. Since each country has a different interpretation of what's legal, Google will review each operator for a relevant license issued in the country from which they operate.
- Rating and Category
All gambling apps submitted to Google are expected to have an IARC content rating, the ESRB equivalent rating of Adults Only (A/O). The app must also be submitted in its appropriate category in the Play Store. Accepted categories include Casino Games, cards, Sports, and Entertainment. Apps must also meet all requirements under Google’s Developer Policy Centre.
The certification process will take one week after application, and only apps that meet all requirements will be accepted. Any attempt to bypass the certification is considered a serious violation and will result in removal from Google Play. Here are more eligibility requirements operators are expected to fulfill:
- Minor Protection – The operator must feature a framework to prevent underage users from using the app.
- Legitimate Products – Operators must offer gambling products that are covered by their respective licenses.
- Geographical Restrictions – Operators must prevent access and users from countries or territories that aren’t covered by their license.
- Free Download – The app must not be purchasable, part of the paid apps on Google Play, or use in-app billing. They must be free to download and install from the Play Store.
- Responsible Gambling – Apps and listings must provide clear information concerning responsible gambling.
What It Means For Operators
Aussie operators only have two options (Sports betting and Lottery). However, this announcement will have a significant impact on the gambling scene in the country. According to Google, the new move to allow more countries aims to encourage operators to start sustainable businesses. However, the policy changes are set to spark mixed reactions. Providing online gambling without registration and a valid license is considered an illegal operation in Australia.
The ACMA (Australian Media and Communications Authority) has, in the past, forced the shutdown of several illegal operators in the county. In a reiteration of the same, Google promises to ban all operators that try to jump through hoops to bypass applications and certification. All gambling apps will be screened to ensure they meet set requirements, just like other apps on the store. Even so, some groups are concerned that easy access to gambling products on mobile phones will increase susceptibility to gambling harm.
Still, operators will have a chance to expand their reach and provide intuitive gambling apps to Aussie players. This new possibility will make their products available to more customers who can now download apps directly from the Play Store. Up until the announcement, only four countries were allowed to offer gambling apps on Google Play, despite counterparts like Apple already having frameworks to accept gambling products in their stores. The policy changes will open new doors, especially for developers focused on Android products.
What It Means For Aussie Players
Gambling apps are soon coming to Google Play, which is a big deal for players who previously relied on browser-based platforms. The store is a credible resource for apps, and Google has a thorough screening process to protect its customers. We expect the same comprehensive assessment to be done for gambling, which is a more sensitive category. At the moment, Aussie players will only have access to sports betting, Daily Fantasy Sports, and Lottery apps. Online casino apps aren't permitted in Australia, so those who fancy pokies, roulette, blackjack, poker, and other classic casino products won't find such options on Google Play.
When Will It Be Enforced?
According to the statement released through Google’s console, these policy changes won’t come into effect until 1st March. A lot could change between now and then. However, Aussie players should start seeing sports betting apps and lottery games on Google Play in March. There's still a long way to go, considering operators must present the apps for Google assessment and certification before they are released on the store. With such changes, it will be more vital for punters to gamble responsibly.