Google Play Store to allow fantasy and rummy apps for one year


Google Play Store to allow fantasy and rummy apps for one year
Google Play Store to allow fantasy and rummy apps for one year
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Google is abandoning its long-held policy of not allowing real-money fantasy games on its Play Store in India, announcing a limited-time pilot programme to allow such real-money games as daily fantasy sports (DFS) and rummy apps on its app marketplace. Google stated that the project will last for one year, beginning September 28, and that DFS and rummy apps developed in the country will have to apply to be added to the Play Store.

Google Play Store to allow fantasy and rummy apps for one year

DFS games are those in which contestants utilise their knowledge of athletic events and athletes to pick or manage rosters of simulated athletes whose performance corresponds exactly to the actual performance of human athletes on sports teams or in sports events. This is a huge step forward for Google, which previously did not allow such programmes in its app store.

The business has taken such a harsh stance against these apps that it temporarily blocked payments app Paytm from the Play Store in 2020 for advertising its fantasy app Paytm First Games, which Google regarded to be a betting app. However, the Indian internet gaming industry has grown at a breakneck pace since then.

According to a survey by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) and Deloitte, the country’s fantasy sports industry is expected to increase from Rs 34,600 crore in FY21 to an anticipated Rs 1,65,000 crore by FY25. The fantasy sports market in India has over 13 crore users, the most in the world.

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Despite the fact that such apps have yet to appear on Google’s Play Store, the sector has seen three start-ups — Dream11, Mobile Premier League, and Games 247 — become unicorns, or private companies valued at $1 billion or more. These apps had to be sideloaded on Android, which meant that users had to install them via a software package downloaded from the Internet.

Notably, developers chosen for the experiment will be unable to offer Google’s in-app charging mechanism and will instead be required to provide alternate third-party billing solutions in their apps. According to reports, Google will not charge a commission on transactions made on these apps, in accordance with its global service fee policy for such apps.

According to a source briefed on the topic, Google has decided to allow fantasy games as part of a pilot “due to the evolving nature of the fantasy gaming business and in order to collect appropriate information about any potential user damages and safety of such apps.” The online gaming industry is dealing with regulatory uncertainty. Despite some favourable decisions by the Supreme Court and other high courts that fantasy gaming apps are games of skill and thus permissible, the app category has been prohibited in a number of states, including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha.

As Google faces regulatory scrutiny for its Play Store activities around the world, the firm has recently weakened some of its standards in an attempt to alleviate some of those worries. It said earlier this week that it will allow non-gaming Android app developers from many countries, including India, to offer third-party payment options as part of a test experiment. Developers’ service fees of 15-30% will be lowered by 4% on these alternative payment options.

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Akshat Ayush