It's been a long time coming, but Google's recent decision to relax its self-imposed ban on real-money gambling apps from the Play Store will be seen as fantastic news by gaming operators and bettors with Android devices alike.
As of early August 2017, Google will accept applications for the distribution of gambling apps within the Play Store in the UK, France and the Republic of Ireland. At a later date, this may be expanded to other regions and countries.
Gaming developers are required to submit documentation supporting their licenses to operate in the jurisdictions in which they wish to make their Android betting apps available so, in order to ensure everything is done correctly and legally, it could potentially be a little time before the majority of gaming sites have their apps available via the Play Store.
Mobile betting apps are now hugely popular and this move is only likely to increase now that it's possible for real-money gambling apps to be marketed via the Google Play app store which, perhaps not entirely coincidentally, was just in time for the start of the new Premier League football season.
It's always been possible for users of Android devices to access betting apps either through the individual bookmakers own websites or via third-party operators, but this limited the potential market to new customers and the developers ability to push updates.
There's little doubt that opportunity to access apps directly from the Play Store will appeal to users familiar with the ease and convenience of regularly downloading apps in that manner.
With 64 per cent of active mobile devices being Android, it will also ensure that Google can now challenge rival Apple's dominance of the highly lucrative gaming market.
The online and mobile gaming industry generated around £4.5 billion in revenue during 2016, so being able to offer an Android App directly to UK and Irish smartphone users will almost inevitably see that number rise in 2017.
The Android betting apps will still be subject to a strict application process if they are to meet the requirements outlined on Google Play's content policy page, with the company developing the app needing to prove they have a valid gambling license in the country they wish to distribute it. That will include complying with all local laws and industry standards. In addition, there also needs to be vigorous procedures in place to restrict under-age gamblers and prevent use of the betting app in other territories outside the country of issue.
There will also be a softening of Google's stance on gambling related adverts in other Play Store apps, although any such ads will have to comply with local industry standards and to meet licensing requirements.
One of Google's main issues with permitting gambling apps on their Play Store was the fact that they were unable to restrict the age of those who would have access to them and they've insisted that any of the aforementioned ads be restricted from being seen by anyone under the age of 18.
They have also prohibited the use of any Google payments services, so it's not going to be possible to gamble with Play Store credit through IAPs (In-App Purchases). The apps must also be free to download in the first place and, as a final precaution, all gambling apps will be required to display prominent information regarding responsible gambling practice.
This is a guest post