Online gaming

Google announces big change to Playstore policy for online games in India, to allow rummy and fantasy sports apps

In a significant change from its current policy of not allowing real money gambling apps in India on the Google Playstore, the US tech giant has announced that real money games such as Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) apps and Rummy will be offered. on its app market on a pilot basis from September 28, 2022 to September 28, 2023.

Google’s new policy is expected to give a big boost to Indian real-money gaming apps which currently account for the bulk of the industry’s revenue in the country.

“Starting September 28, 2022, Play will launch a limited-time pilot allowing the distribution of DFS and Rummy apps to users in India by developers incorporated in India (the “Pilot Program“).” Google said in a notification posted on its website.

“Applicants who successfully complete the application process and are accepted to participate in the pilot program will be eligible to distribute their apps on Google Play for the duration of the pilot program to users in India.” the notification further added.

Outlining the terms and conditions, Google clarified that the real money rummy and fantasy sports app will be rated 18+ only and will be available for free download and will not be eligible to use Google’s in-app billing.

The responsibility will lie with the app developer responsible for collecting the PAN card and bank details of the user downloading the app.

Upon submission of the application form, Google will notify the developer of their decision whether or not to allow the real money gambling application on their platform within seven business days.

Along with the changes to its policy on real-money gambling in India, Google has also allowed real-money online crane gambling in Japan, starting September 28, 2022, on a pilot basis for one year.

In January 2021, Google made some changes to its real-money gaming policy and allowed gambling and sports betting apps licensed from certain states in the United States and certain European countries. Still, Indian real-money skill-based apps were not included in the revised policy at the time.

Google has been in the eye of a storm in India over its arbitrary and anti-competitive policies to list apps on the Playstore, with anti-trust regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) apparently seeking a decision on the policy billing from the tech giant. and commission structure for playstore coming soon. The House of Commons Finance Committee is also looking into alleged anti-competitive practices by social media and tech companies and recently summoned executives from Google, Facebook, Amazon and other tech companies.

In September 2020, Google briefly removed fintech giant Paytm’s mobile app from the Playstore platform over its alleged violation of anti-gambling policies, but restored the app within hours.

Earlier this year, real-money gambling platform Winzo filed a lawsuit against Google in the Delhi High Court over its arbitrary and discriminatory policy of displaying a warning on Android devices when users download its app. In its response to the lawsuit, Google claimed that the policy was not discriminatory but complied with information technology rules on security measures and that a similar warning was displayed on various other apps.

The tech giant also discussed its policy of not allowing speculative or real-money gambling applications on its platform and noted that speculative real-money gambling such as that offered by Winzo is illegal in several states. from India. The lawsuit is scheduled to be heard on September 23, 2022. Google’s position on Winzo’s lawsuit in light of its amended policy is not yet known.

Google’s amended policy on real-money fantasy sports and rummy apps will be a massive boost for the online gambling industry in India and may lead to further policy changes regarding other apps based on the skills also allowed on the playstore platform in the near future.

The online games sector is dominated by players like Dream11, Mobile Premier League and Games 24×7 – which have been sideloaded until now, as they were not allowed on the Play Store.

(With entries from G2G team)