Google Play Store Welcoming Sports Betting Apps, Including Barstool, DraftKings

Posted on: January 28, 2021, 08:44h. 

Last updated on: January 29, 2021, 10:30h.

Google recently updated its developer program policy for the Google Play App Store, paving the way for sports betting applications to be downloaded by Android smartphone users starting March 1.

Google Play App Store
Inside Google’s Tokyo office. The company is allowing sports betting apps in its Play App Store. (Image: Bloomberg)

California-based Alphabet, parent company of the world’s largest search engine, updated its app store policies last week. But news of the refresh pertaining to sports wagering apps broke today.

We allow real-money gambling apps, ads related to real-money gambling and daily fantasy sports apps that meet certain requirements,” according to Google’s developer program site.

Previously, Google wasn’t banning Barstool Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel and the like. But the process for Android users to download those apps wasn’t efficient. Until the changes go into effect on March 1, Android customers will have to go directly to the sportsbook operator’s website to procure the app.

That’s in stark contrast to rival Apple, which makes sports betting fare readily available in the iOS App Store.

Google Delicate Approach to Sports Betting

As the US sports betting wagering industry expands, bringing more states and gamblers into the fold, the internet search giant is responding, though treading lightly.

In 2019, it “beta tested” sports betting advertisements in some states where the activity is legal and regulated, before eventually doubling the amount of states in which users see the ads in internet searches. Google took a similarly delicate approach to online casinos, waiting until late 2019 before featuring ads in the four states at the time that permitted iGaming.

In order for gaming companies to run ads with Google, the operators must meet 10 requirements. Those include various state and geographic requirements, not targeting ads to minors, keep related apps out of Google’s Designed for Families program, and display information about responsible gambling.

The internet company is permitting gaming and sportsbook apps provided developers “complete the application process for gambling apps being distributed on Play, is an approved governmental operator and/or is registered as a licensed operator with the appropriate governmental gambling authority in the specified country, and provides a valid operating license in the specified country for the type of online gambling product they want to offer,” according to the developer page.

In addition to the US, Google Play allows downloads of betting and casino apps in Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and 11 European nations, including the UK.

Palpable Impact for Operators

Google’s decision to make it easier for Android user to access sports betting apps was felt on Wall Street today.

Flutter Entertainment Plc’s (OTC:PDYPY) FanDuel unit and DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) gained two percent and 3.50 percent, respectively. Those are the two largest online sportsbook providers in the US. Penn National Gaming, the company behind Barstool Sportsbook, surged 9.55 percent.

It’s coincidental, but Google’s move amounts to good timing for operators, as it comes just days after online sports betting went live in Michigan and Virginia.