Google Playstore pauses service fee plans for real-money games, extends rummy & fantasy sports pilot

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Google has announced a pause on its plans to impose a service fee on real-money gaming apps and expand into new markets, including India. This decision provides temporary relief to skill-based gaming companies operating in these regions.

As reported by Moneycontrol, Google has also decided to extend the grace period for developers of daily fantasy sports (DFS) and rummy apps participating in its India pilot program. This extension allows these apps to remain available on Google Play, allowing users to continue to access them.

“Expanding our support of real-money gaming apps in markets without a central licensing framework has proven more difficult than expected, and we need additional time to get it right for our developer partners and the safety of our users,” a Google spokesperson explained. “We’re working hard to develop a thoughtful framework – and in the meantime, in India, we are extending the grace period of the pilot program so existing apps offering DFS and Rummy games in India can remain on Play. We hope to have further updates in the coming months on a path forward.”

In January, Google had announced plans to allow more types of real-money gaming apps on the Play Store and to begin levying a service fee on them. This initiative was set to start in India, Mexico, and Brazil from June 2024, with future expansions planned for other countries. The rollout was based on learnings from several pilot programs conducted in various countries, including India, over recent years.

In India, Google ran a year-long pilot program starting from September 2022, allowing daily fantasy sports and rummy apps developed by companies incorporated within the country to be available on Google Play. The pilot concluded on September 28, 2023, and stopped accepting new apps into the program. However, developers who were part of the program were allowed to continue offering their apps on Google Play until June 30, 2024.

With the current extension, developers can maintain their presence on Google Play beyond the initial cutoff date, giving them more time to adapt to potential future changes in Google’s policies and framework for real-money gaming apps.

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