Google Play Allows Some Gambling Apps in Australia
We all know that Australian gambling laws prohibit the operation of online casinos inside Australia. Despite this, there are many online casinos in Australia offered from offshore sites. Up until recently, if you wanted to access certain real money online gaming or gambling apps, Google Play blocked access.
This will change starting in March. News broke on Friday that Google Play will now offer online gaming and online gambling apps in 15 counties, including Australia. It will be interesting to see how lawmakers address this and if the ACMA will try and actively start blocking Google.
Google Play to Allow Online Gambling Apps Starting March 1st
We all known that online gambling apps are popular around the world. However, most apps are not accessible through Google Play due to restrictions on gambling. Starting March 1st, those restrictions will be eased in 18 countries.
Originally, the restrictions were to be eased in Brazil, France, and the UK. However, 15 other countries were added to the list. The two most surprising additions to the list were Australia and the United States. We all know about the restrictions for online gambling in Australia. However, the United States also has restrictions on online gambling in many states.
However, restrictions in the United States have eased in recent years. Recently, the US Department of Justice lost a case involving the Federal Wire Act. They were arguing that it covered all forms of gambling. An appellate court ruled that the law does not apply to online poker or online casino games. As such, states can pursue legalizing those activities without fear of government involvement.
US online gambling apps will be restricted to states where online gambling is legal. Presently, online casino games are only legal in five states. Online poker is legal in six states.
According to Google, “We’re updating our Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy so more developers around the world can build sustainable businesses, and in a way that helps keep consumers safe.” Developers must make sure that underaged gambling is prohibited on apps.
However, the question remains why Australia is included on this list. Online gambling apps would fall outside of Aussie gambling laws and would seem to open the door to legal challenges in the country. That answer is quickly answered by looking closer at the terms of the announcement.
Only Lottery Apps Allowed in Australia
When this announcement first hit news wires, some in Australia were stunned and a bit concerned about a potential explosion of illegal gambling. However, if you look closely at the terms of this announcement, it becomes clear that gambling apps will be severely restricted in Australia.
The only online gambling apps that will be available to Aussies are government-run lotteries. That means that the Lott and Lotterywest will be allowed to offer online gambling apps, but no other companies. Also, companies like Intralot Australia, Ozlotteries, and other legal lotteries will be able to offer apps through Google Play.
Australian Online Casinos Will Still Have Apps Blocked
Any other Australian online casino that offers apps will continue to be blocked from the Google Play Store. This makes perfect sense since those sites are technically illegal. However, in some countries like the UK, online casino apps will be available because the activities are legal.
Google is going out of its way to accommodate gambling app developers but only provided that it does not go contrary to gambling laws in its respective countries. If you play an online lottery, this means that you can now go to Google Play and get your favorite apps. Otherwise, you will still have to find alternative ways to play your favorite online casino games online.
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