Google will begin adding support for more real-money games on its app store this year. The expanded support will be available for developers in markets like India, Mexico, and Brazil in June.
As a brief background, Google introduced a pilot program in 2022 to add support for real-money games, including fantasy sports and rummy, in India. The pilot program concluded on September 28, 2023, but Google extended the scheme for existing apps to continue on Google Play until January 15, 2024. Now, the company has further extended the grace period for developers part of the pilot program to stay on the app store until June 30, 2024.
Post that date, developers can distribute real-money gaming (RMG) apps on Google Play to users in India, extending beyond DFS and Rummy, in accordance with local laws and our updated policy, as stated in a Google blog post.
“With this policy update, we 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,” the company said.
In September last year, Google had said it intended to enable distribution on Google Play for all Self Regulatory Bodies (SRB) verified online real money games that comply with its policies.
It may be recalled that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) earlier this year notified the rules for online gaming. The notification said the ministry may designate as many online gaming SRBs as it may consider necessary for the purposes of verifying an online real money game as a permissible online real money game under these rules.
Google’s recent initiative has garnered a positive response from the industry, which has been grappling with a downturn due to the 28% GST regime.
“As the representative body of online gaming in India, we welcome this progressive decision by Google to allow all Pay to Play skill games on the Play Store. We have been advocating the same for and believe that this will give a big boost to the Indian online gaming industry, where over 70 percent of the revenue is generated by Pay to Play platforms,” Mr. Roland Landers, CEO, All India Gaming Federation, said in a statement.