Australian punters with Android mobile devices have something to look forward to. Starting on March 1st, the Play Store will begin offering gambling apps in select markets.

While such apps have been available to Aussies before, customers were forced to download them as a separate APK file. Now, however, users can get them straight from Google, allowing the Internet titan to scan the apps in order to guard against malicious code.

New Markets

Previously, the only customers able to install these apps were located in Ireland, France, Brazil, and the UK. Now, however, it applies to 15 new markets including Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Canada, Japan, Finland, Germany, Colombia, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, Spain, Romania, and the United States.

Limitations

According to Google’s support page, and beginning on March 1st, “We allow real-money gambling apps, ads related to real-money gambling, and daily fantasy sports apps that meet certain requirements.”

Online casino games are approved under the new policy. However, Google Play won’t be approving these for distribution in Australia. Instead, it will allow lotteries, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports apps.

A Huge Opportunity

Android makes up almost half of the mobile devices in Australia. This means that millions of users will now have access to the apps, as well as seeing promoted ads.

Punter watches football on his PC and checks the score on a sportsbetting app.

App Requirements

If you want to get your gambling app on Google Play, you must meet the following requirements:

  • The app and its listing must clearly display information about responsible gambling.
  • The developer must complete the application process in order to distribute the app.
  • App must comply with all applicable laws and industry standards for the country where it’s distributed.
  • Developer must have a valid gambling license for each country or state/territory in which the app is distributed.
  • The developer must not offer a type of gambling app that exceeds the scope of its gambling license.
  • Gambling apps prohibit underage users from participating.
  • The rating for the app must be AO (adult only) or IARC equivalent.
  • App must not be purchasable as a paid app on Google Play, nor use Google Play in-app billing.
  • Customers must be able to freely download and install the app from the Play Store.
  • The app must prevent access and use from countries, states/territories, and geographic areas not covered by the developer-provided gambling license.

Using Caution

There’s still plenty of reason for caution, despite the fact that millions of punters are delighted. According to Tony Mohr, executive director at the Alliance for Gambling Reform, such apps can “greatly increase the risk of people experiencing gambling harm.”

In the past, the ACMA (Australian Media and Communications Authority) has shut down dozens of illegal online gambling providers. Now their job becomes more difficult, as they’ll have to monitor the various Play Store gambling apps to make sure they’re in compliance.

Probing the Mobile App Market

Back on September 8th, 2020, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission announced a probe into the mobile app market throughout the nation. The probe encompasses both the Google Play Store for Android and the App Store for Apple.

According to a statement released at the time, “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.”

Coincidentally, the final report on this matter debuts in March of 2021.

Additional Reading

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