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Google to Allow real-money Games on Play Store

3 min read
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As soon as the new regulatory framework is put in place in the nation, Google aims to enable any real-money games that have been certified by self-regulatory organisations on the Play Store.

The decision would probably give skill-based gaming firms a boost because they are already suffering as a result of the government’s recently enacted 28 percent GST regime on the real-money gaming sector. According to industry stakeholders, the new tax system might result in a sizable decline in the sector’s revenues, which would have a negative influence on the trajectory of the sector’s growth.

Google made this decision after launching a year-long trial programme in September 2022 to make daily fantasy sports and rummy applications available on Google Play to customers in India from local app developers. The end of the pilot is scheduled for September 28, 2023.

After the trial project finishes, Google will no longer allow new applications into the initiative, according to a recent update to its help website. However, it will give current applications that are taking part in the scheme a grace period to stay on Google Play until January 15, 2024.

“We want to make all Self Regulatory Bodies (SRB) verified online real money games that abide by our regulations available for distribution on Google Play. To decide on future moves and timing, we are closely monitoring all events in this respect, a Google representative said in a statement.

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A number of self-regulatory bodies (SRBs) will be able to decide whether or not a real-money game involving the transfer of money is allowed to function in India according to new gaming-related modifications to the IT Act 2021 that MeitY announced in April.

Although the ministry has received four applications for the creation of SRBs up until this point, it has not yet notified them. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Union Minister, stated in April that three SRBs will be notified initially to oversee real-money gambling, with the possibility of further notifications depending on workload.

Google has only allowed India to receive these real-money games for the present experimental program. Additionally, the business had stated that these apps shouldn’t be able to be purchased on the app store or use Google’s in-app pricing system.

For this reason, unlike other apps on the Play Store, Google does not yet charge for these apps. Google had a stringent rule against permitting real-money games on its Play Store prior to this test.

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Moneycontrol has already been informed by executives from real-money gambling companies that the move will drastically lower their marketing expenses and enhance their unit economics.

They will be able to reach a far wider audience by lowering the difficulty people have installing these games on their devices. Users currently need to manually sideload these apps onto their devices by getting the Android Package (APK) file of these games via alternative distribution channels, which can be a time-consuming operation.

It will also raise app discoverability for consumers to play these games on their phones and the level of security on client transactions, enhancing consumer trust in these firms, according to Deepak Gullapalli, founder of skill-based gaming company Head Digital Works.

According to a recent FICCI-EY analysis, the real-money gaming segment contributed 77% of the Rs 13,500 crore in gaming sector revenues in India in 2022. According to the report, these revenues will increase to Rs 16,700 crore in 2023 and Rs 23,100 crore in 2025.