June 25, 2024 3 min read

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Fact-checked by Stoyan Todorov

Google Halts Global Expansion of RMG Apps Amid Regulatory Hurdles

The initial rollout garnered positive feedback from developers participating in pilot programs in India, Brazil, and Mexico

Google has decided to stop expanding the Real Money Games (RMG) framework on its Play Store following a January announcement where it outlined a new approach to RMG which would have seen it widen support in countries like India, Brazil and Mexico. This was dependent on meeting specific user safety requirements and local laws.

Google Extends Grace Period for Indian DFS and Rummy Apps

The initial rollout received positive feedback from developers who were part of pilot programs in these regions, where betting apps currently operate without licenses, reported TechCrunch. However, global changes to Google’s RMG policy have now been paused. A Google spokesperson said that there were unexpected difficulties with supporting real-money gaming apps in markets without a central licensing authority and that the company will need more time to ensure user safety and success for developer partners.

Originally, the new RMG framework was scheduled to come into effect on June 30, 2024. This included extending a grace period for existing Indian apps offering daily fantasy sports (DFS) and Rummy which allowed them to remain on the Play Store until this date. But now this grace period has been extended indefinitely with the latest decision so those types of apps can continue operating while Google reevaluates its strategy.

The Indian gaming sector is set for upheaval this year as since October 2023 there has been a 28% goods and services tax (GST) imposed on RMG revenues. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman promised a review of these taxes six months after they took effect but the Modi government has not provided an agenda yet which adds another level of uncertainty for all stakeholders including Google.

Brazil’s Regulatory Uncertainty Adds Challenges for Google’s RMG Expansion

Meanwhile, in Brazil things are also up in the air as the Betting and Prizes Secretariat (SPA) is expected to release final ordinances related to safer gambling, market conduct, crime prevention, and advertising duties. All these regulations are needed in order for Brazil’s federal sports betting market to kick off by 2024 with only licensed operators allowed in operation by January 2025. This is further complicating matters for firms such as Google.

Google’s hesitancy shows the difficulty of entering into markets that are not regulated or only partially regulated. However, it remains committed to doing so and wants to create a secure environment both for users as well as developers. 

Nevertheless, apps from the pilot programs in India and potentially Mexico will still be available on the Play Store during this pause so that people can continue enjoying them while Google refines its plan for later release elsewhere. The company is also working on finalizing a new service fee structure for RMG apps which indicates its ongoing interest in this area.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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