Insights Google Play ushers RMG apps into India, Mexico and Brazil

In the last week we have seen the gaming industry press draw attention to the announcement made by Google’s Director of Global Trust and Safety Partnerships that this year Google Play will be allowing Real Money Game (RMG) apps to be published in India, Mexico and Brazil (with more countries potentially receiving Google’s ‘endorsement’ in the near future).

This would appear to show a relaxation in Google’s typically conservative approach to offering RMG apps on Google Play, which suggests that it is developing its policies (albeit cautiously) so as to allow access to end users in certain markets that are still in the process of developing established regulatory frameworks. In this case, Brazil is the obvious example, where the legislation approving the regulatory framework was signed into law on 30 December last year, but where the federal licensing process has not yet commenced.

Arguably, this suggests that the tech giant understands that there is a shifting regulatory landscape (or potential for regulatory change) in various markets where the regulation of remote gambling activities continues to evolve.

Whether this is due to more direct engagement with the industry and/or a better understanding of viable .com market strategies (at least in markets that are often described as ‘regulating’) is uncertain, but it clearly represents a more permissive stance.

It can of course be argued that end users in the jurisdictions mentioned above can already access content or download apps through a plethora of other solutions outside of Google Play, but their availability in the Google Play store undoubtedly gives more immediate access to a wider audience. Now market competitors in territories such as those listed above will have the opportunity to publish products and enhance the recognition of their brands ahead of availability of local licences in many cases. Google’s more tolerant approach recognises that, when it comes to online gambling, regulation inevitably lags behind technological changes and consumer demand.