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Google Play Levels Up: Expanding Real-Money Games in India, Mexico, and Brazil from June 2024

Google is set to expand support for real-money games on its app store, Google Play, with an initial focus on markets such as India, Mexico, and Brazil from June 2024. The tech giant introduced a pilot program in 2022 allowing real-money games, including fantasy sports and rummy, in India. The pilot, initially set to conclude on September 28, 2023, had been extended for existing apps until January 15, 2024. Now, the grace period has been further extended for developers involved in the pilot program, permitting them to remain on Google Play until June 30, 2024.

Post this date, developers can distribute real-money gaming (RMG) apps to users in India, adhering to local laws and Google's updated policies. The policy update is accompanied by a shift in the service fee model for RMG to reflect the value provided by Google Play and sustain the Android and Play ecosystems. In September 2023, Google had expressed its intention to enable distribution on Google Play for all Self Regulatory Bodies (SRB) verified online real money games that comply with its policies.

This initiative has been positively received by the online gaming industry in India, which has been grappling with challenges under the 28% GST regime. The move is expected to boost the Indian online gaming sector significantly, with over 70% of the revenue generated by Pay to Play platforms. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had recently notified rules for online gaming, allowing the designation of multiple online gaming SRBs for verifying online real-money games under these regulations.

Google's step to allow a broader range of real-money games on its platform aligns with its strategy to adapt to evolving industry dynamics and regional regulatory frameworks, providing a more inclusive environment for developers while upholding compliance standards. As the online gaming market continues to grow globally, Google aims to create a balanced ecosystem that caters to the diverse needs of users and developers. This move also comes as part of Google's efforts to accommodate changing consumer preferences and contribute to the overall sustainability and innovation of the Android and Play ecosystems.


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