Why Google Finally Changed its Stance on Sports Wagering Apps in the US Play Store

3 August, 2022 Gaming

Why Google Finally Changed its Stance on Sports Wagering Apps in the US Play Store


In early 2021, Google announced a change to their Play Store policies. The change was implemented on the 1st of March and permitted gambling applications in the Google Play Store for several countries, including the United States. Prior to the change in the regulations, only four countries were allowed to offer gambling apps in the Play Store, with the United Kingdom, Brazil, France, and Ireland the countries able to add gambling apps. However, the change in ruling did not mean an immediate shift in what was available in the Google Play Store for people in the US.


Gambling Apps with Restrictions in the US Play Store

The fact Google changed its stance on sports wagering apps in the US Play Store did not see a vast number of apps becoming available across the United States over night. Limitations were put in place, with different forms of gambling apps legally available in only a small number of states. Sports wagering apps were made legal in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Google also required all companies wanting to launch a sports betting app on the Play Store to go through an application process and that still stands today for any developer wanting to launch a gambling app in the US. So, it is not easy to launch a sports wagering app in the US Play Store, but it is now legal in several states.


Android Users Suffering from Restrictions

One of the main reasons why Google changes its policy on sports wagering apps in the US Play Store was to make accessing the apps easier for users. Most online gamblers in the US were already installing sports wagering apps on their mobile device directly from the sportsbook website. The mobile US betting industry was booming in the United States, but Android users did not have the facility to install sports wagering apps easily. Those using iOS devices could install sports wagering apps from the App Store, so it made sense for Android users to be able to do the same.


Market Share

Google owns the Android operating system and therefore, it is in their best interests for users to have access to the apps they want to install. Android is the dominant operating system in the United States, mainly thanks to the fact it is possible to purchase mobile phones with the Android operating system at a budget price. However, with a ban on sports wagering apps in the Play Store, Google faced the possibility of losing market share to Apple. For those who want to gamble on sport regularly using a mobile device, the smart option would have been to purchase an Apple mobile phone, as there was no restriction on sports wagering apps in the App Store. Google may have assessed the impact on their market share and based on the forecast, decided to change their stance on sports wagering apps in the US Play Store.


Games with Gambling Mechanics

The fact there were already many popular gaming apps with gambling mechanics could have had an influence on the decision made by Google. Before the change of heart by Google in relation to sports wagering apps, there were many gaming apps available in the Play Store that had a gambling mechanism, such as loot boxes. It was also possible to buy stocks using apps in the Google Play Store, so adding sports wagering apps was only really an extension of what was already available.


Whatever the overriding reason for Google changing the rules on sports wagering apps, it was good news for online gambling companies. They can now attract more customers by having their brand available in the Google Play Store, something that was not possible prior to March 2021.


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