For a long time, Google has been restricting the availability of real-money gambling and betting to a handful of countries for want of approval from local governments. So far, only four regions-- Brazil, France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
Now, Google has simplified the app policy and announced to allow those wager games in 15 countries including namely Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the US (only in select states).
"We’re updating our Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy so more developers around the world can build sustainable businesses, and in a way that helps keep consumers safe," Google said.
The new list of countries does not have any mention of India. It's probably due to the ban on gambling apps in certain Indian states including Andhra Pradesh. More state governments are expected to announce similar restrictions in the coming months.
However, Google has announced that they are easing and clarifying certain company policies for India region-specific apps related to loyalty programmes and features.
It can be noted that Google had blocked certain apps including Paytm for indulging in gambling and gamifying the services in the garb to attract more users.
This action led to wide-spread criticism of Google. Several prominent app developer companies said the Mountain View-based company had too much power and called for building an indigenous app store for India.
Though Google lifted the ban, it was only after apps complied with the former's policy by taking down the money-based contests from their platform.
Now, the search engine giant has made some changes and said- "Based on feedback from developers globally, we have updated our policy guidance on gamified loyalty programs that are based on a qualified monetary transaction in the app and offer prizes of cash or other real-world value".
The company has made it clear that the Play store will not host real money gambling apps in India. It will continue to hold talks with the app developers and government bodies on what measures can be introduced that will best support this industry.