Cianán Clancy


Responsive image

21th July 2017

Welcome to the right side not the dark side Google.

By Cianán Clancy

After extensive lobbying, Google has finally relaxed its policy on gambling apps. From the start of the Premier League in August, gambling apps will be allowed in the Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom and France - providing they are fully licensed.

This brings Google’s policy towards licensed gambling operators broadly in line with Apple. Gambling is often considered a dark topic but is a sector heavily regulated, legal and with household names. This change by Google reflects this as well as puts safe guards and structures in place to protect all users and make the gambling experience safer.

Previously, Android customers have had to go direct to the source to download gambling apps. Although many licensed gambling operators’ apps are legitimate and well-functioning, it has meant a more open market with less checks and restrictions in a sector that deals in real money. It’s meant a higher chance of scams, viruses and unlicensed operators that don’t follow any legislation.

Gambling apps submitted to the Android store from August will be required to show their licenses and clearly meet regional legislation - as well as meeting Google’s own high quality standards. Google will reject apps that try to “cheat the system” and the app submission process comes with guidelines about content, function, and customer safety.

This softening started in 2015, with its “pilot” of allowing fantasy games in the App store. This softening isn’t Google going over to a darker side, but rather helping ensure licensing laws are being followed and that users of gambling apps can do so safely. It’s the right step.

Android is the biggest app store in the world and with this change provides a safer, more controlled platform for people who already take part in gambling to get their apps and critically update stop their apps. It also means, I hope, a softening against the gambling sector as a whole in terms of other products. Gambling has the opportunity to provide the killer apps in a variety of key innovation areas Google is pursuing. This means we as providers can now work directly with Google and not against them in key customer experience and product innovation battlegrounds.