Stocks of several top sports betting companies like DraftKings and Penn National Gaming surfaced Thursday afternoon after reports that Google is reversing long-standing guidelines banning mobile sports betting and casino apps on its Google Play Store platform in the US

So far, the Play Store has approved content and services that enable online gambling apps in just a few countries around the world, particularly France, Ireland and the UK. While Google also allows certain gambling apps in Brazil, offerings are limited to those approved by Caixa Economica Federal, a state-owned financial institution.

As part of the policy change, which goes into effect March 1st, Google will allow real money gambling apps, ads related to real money gambling and daily fantasy sports apps on the Play Store. Google apparently changed its guidelines for sports betting apps on January 20, a change first reported by Reuters on Thursday.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the timing of the policy change in March in an email to US Bets on Thursday evening.

Strict restrictions

From March 1st, developers in 15 additional countries can offer sports betting and casino apps via the Play Store. Developers in the United States, Canada, Germany, Japan, and Mexico are among the group of new countries that will benefit from the policy changes. Developers have to go through a rigorous application process before the Android apps are approved in the Play Store.

* Reuters reports that sports betting and online casino apps will soon be available on Google Play

• Sports betting and online casino apps were not allowed in the Play Store due to Google guidelines.

• According to Reuters, this should change soon.

– Roundhill Investments (@roundhill) January 28, 2021

For one, the gaming app must comply with all applicable laws and industry standards for each country in which it is sold, as per the guidelines of the Google Developer Program for Real Money Games, Games and Competitions. In addition, Google’s policy stipulates that a developer must have a valid gaming license for each country, state, or territory in which the app is offered.

Additional requirements for app developers:

  • Developers are not allowed to offer gambling products that exceed the scope of their gambling license
  • The app must prevent underage users from using the app
  • The app must prevent access and use of countries, states / territories or the geographic areas that are not covered by the gaming license provided by the developer
  • The app may not be purchased as a paid app on Google Play or use Google Play’s in-app billing
  • It must be possible to download the app for free and install it in the store
  • The app must be rated AO (adults only) or IARC equivalent
  • The app and its app list must clearly display responsible gambling information

The requirements appear to be aimed at promoting responsible gaming and preventing minors from mobile sports betting, two areas that have been of concern since the 2018 PASPA ruling that lifted a comprehensive federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada. As New York nears legalization of mobile sports betting, the state has emphasized the need for a responsible gambling framework.

While Google has in the past refused to lift the US ban on apps for mobile sports betting in the Play Store, Google has offered a test / beta phase to allow DFS apps in the store. Currently, Droid users can only get mobile sports betting apps directly from the sports betting operator’s website.

Increased activations

The policy change will almost certainly increase activations from major US sports betting. On Thursday, Bill Miller, CEO of the American Gaming Association, in a closely watched forecast for 2021 stated that mobile sports betting will play a crucial role in the gaming industry’s continued recovery from the COVID-19 downturn. Last year’s U.S. sports betting handle likely exceeded $ 21 billion, while mobile sports betting represented about 82% of all bets since last March, Miller said.

Last February, ahead of a protracted global sports freeze, downloads of US mobile sports betting apps rose 84% year over year, according to research by Morgan Stanley. While mobile sports betting app downloads declined in April at the height of the shutdown, downloads rose more than 210% last May, suggesting a number of professional sports were poised to return.

Last week, BetMGM received over 200,000 successful signups from customers within eight hours of launch in Michigan, spokeswoman Elisa Richardson told US Bets. According to Bank of America, BetMGM ranked fourth in incremental downloads among sports betting in Michigan for the first three days of mobile sports betting.

DraftKings announced Thursday that the company will bring its Sportsbook & Casino app to the US when the Play Store policy goes into effect, 9-to-5Google.com reported.

DraftKings closed at $ 56.17 per share on Thursday, up 3.50%. Penn National shares rose 9.55% to $ 107.03, nearing a 52-week high.