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Google is set to expand the number of real-money gaming (RMG) apps supported on its Play Store this year.

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The expanded list of permitted apps is expected to include “game types and operators not covered by an existing licensing framework.”

The update was shared last week on the Android Developers Blog, by Google’s director of global trust and safety partnerships, Karan Gambhir.

RMG expansion background

Google has been expanding both the number and type of RMG apps available on its Play Store since 2021, when it “began onboarding a wider range of RMG apps in markets with pre-existing licensing frameworks.” 

Gambhir said in the blog post: “Since then, this app category has continued to flourish with developers creating new RMG experiences for mobile.”

The initial expanded rollout of RMG apps saw their introduction in regulated gambling markets, including those in the US.

Following that rollout, Google introduced new pilot schemes in 2022 allowing RMG apps in markets where online gambling was not regulated, for example by allowing real-money rummy apps in India, and daily fantasy sports apps in Mexico.

“Based on the learnings from the pilots and positive feedback from users and developers, Google Play will begin supporting more RMG apps this year, including game types and operators not covered by an existing licensing framework,” wrote Gambhir in the blog post.

“We’ll launch this expanded RMG support in June to developers for their users in India, Mexico, and Brazil, and plan to expand to users in more countries in the future.”

What happens next?

Google said its new approach “will provide new business opportunities to developers globally while continuing to prioritise user safety. 

“It also enables developers currently participating in RMG pilots in India and Mexico to continue offering their apps on Play,” it added.

The new policy is expected to come into effect on 30 June. Operators of rummy and DFS in India and Mexico will be able to continue offering RMG apps in those markets until that date, under the existing pilot scheme.

When the new policy comes in, more RMG apps are expected to hit the market in several jurisdictions, provided they do not contravene local laws or Google’s existing RMG app policies.

Existing developer policies do insist that RMG apps must offer a suite of consumer protection measures, including age-gating, geo-gating and other key requirements.

New service fee model

In addition to the changes above, Google will also “be evolving our service fee model for RMG to reflect the value Google Play provides and to help sustain the Android and Play ecosystems.”

That suggests fees are set to increase for RMG app developers, while another note on the Android Developers Blog post says the company is “working closely with developers to ensure our new approach reflects the unique economics and various developer earning models of this industry.”

More details on the updated service fee model are expected “in the coming months.”

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