Google drops poker face, allows gambling apps on Play Store

Ban lifted in UK, France and Ireland as an 'experiment'

Poker all in

Google has agreed to let Play Store customers court cruel mistress Lady Luck.

A spokesperson confirmed to The Register that, as of August 2, the store formally allows gambling apps.

Folk in the UK, Ireland and France are part of this experiment.

According to Apple's Developer guidelines, the Apple App Store allows gambling apps with several conditions. Geo-restricted apps with "real money gaming" such as poker, for example, must be free and have all necessary licensing and permissions.

Google has sporadically allowed gambling apps in the Play Store. Forbes reported that ahead of the 2015 US NFL season, the store carried some apps for placing wagers on players. However, a spokesperson told The Reg that before August 2, such apps were not permitted.

The Play Store will now support gambling apps subject to strict regulations and requirements.

"We're experimenting with rolling out real money gambling apps in select markets over the next few weeks that ensures user safety," the spokesperson said, "as part of our continued effort to offer new experiences on Google Play."

According to the Google Play Developer Policy Center, the rules for apps in the UK, Ireland and France are as follows:

  • Developer must successfully complete the application process in order to distribute the app on Play;
  • App must comply with all applicable laws and industry standards for any country in which it is distributed;
  • Developer must have a valid gambling license for each country in which the app is distributed;
  • App must prevent under-age users from gambling in the app;
  • App must prevent use from countries not covered by the developer-provided gambling license;
  • App must NOT use Google payments services, including Google Play In-app Billing;
  • App must be free to download and install from the Store;
  • App must be rated AO (Adult Only) or IARC equivalent; and
  • App and its app listing must clearly display information about responsible gambling.

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