Earlier in January this year, Google announced that it would permit online gambling apps to be listed on its Play Store in several countries including the United States of America. While gambling apps were already allowed in the app store of four countries including Brazil and the United Kingdom, the list of countries has increased significantly due to this move.
Restrictions still apply
Online gambling has a turbulent legal history in the USA and is currently regulated with complex laws in different states. The tech giant has kept the legal complexity in mind while designing the restrictions that would apply to developers in the country.
Some of the restrictions include:
- Developers can only publish their apps in markets that are regulated for the category of the app. For example, online casino apps can be listed in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania while only poker apps can be listed in Nevada.
- Only state-run or affiliated lotteries are allowed to list their apps, and only in the states that regulate lotteries such as Rhode Island, Virginia, and New York.
- In some states, fantasy sports app are also subject to being regulated, depending on the jurisdiction of the state.
Mobile apps are the future of gambling in the USA?
To be honest, this move wasn’t that surprising coming from Google given the huge demand for online gambling in the country. Mobile apps offer the most convenient method for both playing online casino games and sports betting.
Another reason why this move makes sense is that online casinos were already providing mobile apps, by allowing players to download the app from their website and “side-loading” them.
In unregulated markets like India, mobile apps still dominate even though Google refuses to list them in the official play store. Similarly, the biggest online casinos operating in India allow players to download the apps from their websites to surpass the prohibition. However, this can lead to scams and hacks as side-loading apps can affect the security of the device.
A positive trend
Over the last few years, lawmakers in the USA have gradually started allowing online gambling to come back legally in several states. Google’s latest movie only confirms the chances that online gambling, especially mobile gambling, might really become a phenomenon in the country.