Google has declared that real-money games like Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) & Rummy applications have been made available on its app marketplace on a temporary basis from September 28, 2022, to September 28, 2023. This is a significant departure from the company’s existing policy of forbidding real-money gaming apps in India on the Google Playstore.
The new Google policy is expected to impact Indian real-money gambling applications, which now account for most of the industry’s revenue.
Thus, on September 28, 2022, Playstore began a short-term Pilot Program that will allow it to distribute DFS and Rummy applications by an Indian developer to users in India – a notification from Google stated.
The notification further stated that participants in the Pilot Program who complete the application procedure would be allowed to make their apps available to Indian customers on Google Play for the duration of the Pilot Program.
The real cash rummy and fantasy sports application will only be available to those who are 18 or older, will be available for free download, and will not be able to use Google in-app billing, according to Google’s explanation of the terms and restrictions.
The creator of the app will be held liable for gathering the PAN card & bank account information of the user who downloads the app.
Within seven business days after receiving the online application, Google will let the developer know whether or not the actual money gaming app will be accepted on its network.
Along with the modifications to its real money gaming policy in India, Google has also decided to pilot real cash online crane gaming in Japan starting on September 28, 2022, for one year.
Google made several changes to its real-money gaming policy in January 2021 and started allowing legal sports betting and gambling apps from some European and American states. Still, the updated restriction at the time did not apply to Indian actual money skill-based apps.
Due to its arbitrary and anti-competitive policy initiatives for listing apps on the Playstore, Google has been in the spotlight in India. Antitrust watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) has come down with a massive fines adding up to over Rs 2250 crores on the tech giant’s billing guidelines and Playstore commission structure. In addition, the parliamentary working group on finance had summoned CEOs from Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other internet firms to testify about alleged anti-competitive actions by social media and tech firms.
In September 2020, Google temporarily deleted Paytm’s mobile app from the Google playstore platform due to an alleged infringement of anti-gambling guidelines, but it quickly reinstated it.
Winzo, a real money gambling company, sued Google in the High Court of Delhi earlier this year for its inconsistent and biased policy of displaying a notice on Android smartphones when people download its app. Google argued in its response to the lawsuit that its policy is not discriminating and complies with security rules for information technology and that numerous other apps display a similar warning.
The internet giant also referred to its policy of prohibiting speculation as well as real money gaming applications on its platform and mentioned that Winzo’s kind of speculative actual money games is prohibited in several Indian states. However, Google’s position on Winzo’s lawsuit isn’t yet known regarding its modified policy.
The new Google policy on real-money fantasy sports and rummy applications could boost the country’s online gaming market. In addition, it could pave the way for future policy changes that would allow other skill-based apps to be distributed through the Playstore platform.
Apps like Dream11, Mobile Premier League, & Games 24×7, which were previously side-loaded since they were not permitted on the Playstore, dominate the online gaming industry.
However, it needs to be kept in mind that the Indian government retains the right to ask Google to remove any app from playstore in India, as it does right now.