Google Temporarily Stops Expansion of Real Money Games Framework

Google has announced that it is halting the expansion of its Real Money Games (RMG) framework on the Play Store.

Google’s Real Money Games framework expansion on the Play Store has been halted indefinitely.

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The news follows an announcement in January that the company was adopting a new approach to RMG that would have increased support in India, Brazil, and Mexico as long as certain user safety requirements were met and local gambling regulations were complied with.

However, these changes to Google’s RMG policy have been paused despite receiving positive feedback from developers in pilot programs in these regions. A spokesperson for Google explained that there were unforeseen challenges with supporting real-money gaming apps in markets where there is no central licensing authority. As a result, the company says it needs more time in order to ensure user safety.

Extension of Grace Period

At first, it was announced that the new RMG framework would begin on June 30, 2024. This included the extension of a grace period for Indian apps already on the Play Store that offered daily fantasy sports (DFS) and Rummy. These apps were allowed to stay on the Play Store until the new policy took effect and now, the grace period has been extended indefinitely while Google reviews its strategy.

The Indian gaming sector is experiencing upheaval due to a 28% goods and services tax (GST) on RMG revenues imposed since October 2023. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman promised a review of these taxes six months after implementation, but the Modi government has yet to set an agenda, adding another layer of uncertainty for all stakeholders, including Google.

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Uncertainty in Brazil Creates Difficulties for Google

In Brazil, the situation is also uncertain. The Betting and Prizes Secretariat (SPA) is due to release final regulations regarding safer gambling, market conduct, crime prevention, and advertising duties. These regulations are essential for Brazil’s federal sports betting market to launch, with only licensed operators permitted from January 2025. This creates further complications for companies such as Google.

Google’s change of plans demonstrates the difficulty of entering unregulated or partially regulated markets. Nevertheless, the company remains committed to creating a secure environment for both users and developers.

Despite the pause, apps from pilot programs in India and potentially Mexico will remain on the Play Store, allowing users to continue enjoying them while Google reworks its plans. Additionally, Google is working on finalizing a new service fee structure for RMG apps, demonstrating ongoing interest in this sector.


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