Monday stands to be a pretty big day for mobile sports bettors who own Android smartphones. That’s when Google Play updates its policy and will allow real-money gaming apps to be marketed in its store.
Among the types of apps that will be available to download from the Play Store include iGaming, lotteries, sports betting operators, and daily fantasy sports.
Certain restrictions will still apply, according to Google’s guidelines. For instance, the developer must hold licenses in each state where the app is distributed. So, a New York bettor will need to cross the Hudson River before accessing the store to download an app.
In addition, it must be rated “adult only” and prevent access to underage users. It also must be free to download and not use Google Pay for in-app purchases.
Google made the gaming app policy change in late January.
Clunky Process Now for Android Bettors
Android users haven’t been shut out of the mobile sports betting scene since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA nearly three years ago. But, as an Android user myself, the process can be an ordeal at times.
Apps, for now, have been only available as a direct download from the operator, a process called sideloading. It also requires Android users to go into their phone’s settings and update them to allow for manual installations.
And if users install apps manually, that means updates must also take place through a manual download process. And sportsbook apps have numerous updates.
The number of Android users has grown by nearly 50 percent in the last seven years. That’s according to eMarketer. In 2021, researchers expect the Google-based mobile operating system will have 130.6 million users, up from 87.7 million in 2014.
However, according to Statcounter.com, Apple’s iOS operating system dominates the smartphone market. In January 2021, iOS commanded a 61.5 percent market share in the US, compared to just 38.3 percent for Android.
Apple has not employed the same restrictions as Google. Two years ago it required app developers to make their apps native to its iOS system.
DraftKings Looks Forward to Move
On Friday’s fourth-quarter earnings call with analysts, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said the company is looking forward to having its app available on Google Play. He expects the company to add customers through Google Play and will advertise on the marketplace.
Robins noted that not all states where DraftKings operates did not receive initial approval, but it’s something he hopes can get rectified soon.
It’s actually really hard to create a (user interface) that’s very state-specific on that front,” he said. “So we’re working hard to do it so that we can get live in the states that were approved for March 1, but hopeful that Google will approve those additional States. What we’d like to ideally see is they just set a policy where any state that has legal, regulated sports betting and igaming is automatically included in the policy.”
DraftKings currently offers mobile sports betting in 10 states. It and FanDuel rank among the top two mobile sports betting operators in legal US markets.
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