Google Play is one of the most popular places for users to download apps. It has easily rivaled the Apple Store, as users of Android, Microsoft, and other common handheld devices have instantaneous access to this app store, making it the most popular place on the planet in terms of sheer numbers.
This is why when the company makes a major policy change it is big news, and that is what happened at the end of January when the search giant announced that they would be allowing casino gaming apps to be offered in their play store as a new Developer Programme Policy. This now enables users in 15 additional countries to be able to download gambling applications, and that number may soon rise.
Play Roulette, Blackjack, Poker and More
There is no denying that legalized gambling is becoming extremely popular across the globe. Where only a handful of countries offered legalized gambling just two or three decades ago, now there are dozens that are allowing this. It has even become legal across the United States and much of Europe. Something that many would not have imagined at the end of the last millennium.
Many governments realized the huge potential of the online gambling market and its benefits for the domestic economy. With an increased interest in the industry, the gambling legislation is a natural step towards the battle against corruption. Many countries introduced gambling as a legal activity and took much bigger control of the market. The governments’ budget saw an increase in revenue from taxable gambling activities, and in some of them, it helped the economy cope with the recent crisis.
Technological improvements also had a great impact on a growing interest in gambling. Just a decade ago, you couldn’t imagine spinning the roulette wheel while traveling to work. However, the gaming industry became available on the go, and operators saw a massive growth space.
This has led to the development of a number of gambling apps, which not only enable users to play their favorite casino style games but also to bet on sporting events. This is true in New Zealand as well. People who enjoy playing online roulette or even skill requiring games like poker, blackjack, or other games for real money in New Zealand can now do so using some of these acts.
While there is not data that breaks down how players are using each individual table game or slot machines, what is clear is that there has been a significant increase in the playing of casino style games. At one time, most were drawn to lotteries, sweepstakes, horse and dog racing, and similar types of events. With the legalization of sports betting, about 10% of men and nearly 2% of women partake in these types of wagers.
Now gaming machines, both online and at land-based facilities, due to ways of optimized business operations, are seeing a dramatic increase in use as well. Interestingly enough, it is women who are far more likely to play these machines, averaging about 50% more in terms of usage than their male counterparts. Since women are more likely to spend time on their handheld device, it is not surprising that New Zealanders would like to see apps available for them to use to play games.
All casino games are now available 24/7, and players don’t need to leave the comfort of their homes. Moreover, live table games can provide a physical-casino-like experience, as players can interact with the live dealer. Software developers invested a huge effort in optimizing games for mobile devices, not only to make them comply with the technical specifications of the device but also to provide all players a memorable gaming experience. Since the millennials spend more time than ever online and consuming entertaining content, the interest in online gambling will continue to rise.
Search Giant Opening the Door
At the end of January, Google announced a major change in their Developer Programme Policy that opens the door for people to download gambling apps from their play store. This makes these apps available in 15 countries where customers were unable to download them previously.
This change will take effect on March 1, and will allow people in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United States to download apps from casino providers.
While these apps are available in these countries, that does not mean that they come without restrictions. In many places only a limited number of operators are licensed to provide online gambling within the country. Therefore, only those licensed operators who have gambling apps will be authorized to provide their app at Google Play.
For example, in Finland, only Veikkaus will be authorized to provide their apps to users, because they are the only licensed operator within the country. In Germany, only sports betting and state lottery apps will be allowed on the Google Play Store. While online slots and poker are permitted within the country, the German government is not allowing Google to include these apps within their store.
In the United States, rules governing downloading of applications are set by the individual states. This will likely mean that players may have access to download the app, but will be unable to use them if they are within the borders of the state where gambling is not allowed. Some states have been restricted on what types of apps are available.
For example, Nevada is only allowing the downloading of apps for poker-only games. Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are only allowing the downloading of applications that are linked directly to operators that are licensed to operate in the state.
On the other hand, although Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto are the only two legal providers, There won’t be any restrictions in Norway. This European country should allow other operators to host their casino apps at the Norwegian Play Store.
Ultimately, every app should comply with the gambling regulations in each country. Industry standards should be fulfilled as well, while all developers need to be properly licensed. These apps will be free to download, but they should be marked as Adult Only.
A Big Shift for Other Countries?
This is big news in these countries. The Google Play Store is the largest provider of apps for handheld devices, and the availability of these gambling apps to users in these countries is a dramatic shift that many analysts believe will spread across into other countries.
With online gambling available in several countries, it would seem logical that policies and Google will change to open the door for applications to be downloaded from the Play Store for people within the borders of that country. New Zealand is one such country.
It is important to understand that these apps are available already within New Zealand. Many can be downloaded at other app stores or they are available at the casino site itself. The difference is they are currently not available on Google’s app store.
This is the market where these gambling developers would like to get in. They understand that a large number of people use this app store to assist them in finding a great game, program, or other application, and so being available on the Plate Store opens the door for an exponential growth in their customer base.
Although online casinos already have their gaming apps launched, a partnership with Google Play Store will make them more accessible to all users. Players will be able to download the these apps right from the app store and within just a few taps. This way, online casino customers won’t need to set up special permissions on their smartphone devices, which is mostly the case when downloading apps directly from a website. Some customers don’t feel comfortable dipping into their mobile device settings, and therefore, avoid installing the online casino software. However, thanks to the upcoming availability on Google Play Store, this won’t be an issue anymore.
While not available right now, it also looks like the search giant may be changing their policy as well. Since the proper safety measures have been implemented, such as ensuring the people under 18 are unable to play, Google would be smart to open up their platform to these apps as well. So, it will likely not be long before they are available.