Google To Welcome More Real-Money Games In India: Why This Could Upset Regulators

Google is set to expand its support for real-money games (RMG), a move that promises to reshape the gaming landscape in countries like India, Mexico, and Brazil. This expansion, initially limited to specific regions, will now open doors for a wider range of game developers and operators, who have so far faced stringent restrictions on the Google Play Store.

What to know? In India, a country witnessing rapid growth in the RMG sector since the 2020 lockdown, the distinction between games of skill and chance remains a hotly debated topic. The government is yet to finalize regulations, leaving the industry in a state of anticipation.

With the new changes, set to take effect from June 2024, Google aims to incorporate a broader spectrum of RMG apps on its Play Store, extending beyond the current fantasy sports and rummy applications. This move follows a period of critique from developers of other RMG types, who demanded a more inclusive approach from Google.

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A regulatory hurdle: This expansion aligns with India’s ongoing efforts to clearly define and regulate online gaming. The government has called for the establishment of a new regulatory body and the implementation of stricter laws. It seeks to clearly differentiate between skill-based games, which should come under central regulation, and chance-based games, traditionally regulated by state authorities.

As Google navigates these evolving regulations, the tech giant also plans to revise its service fee model for RMGs, with further details expected in the coming months. This development signals a significant shift in the digital gaming industry, aligning with legal frameworks and addressing the concerns of a diverse range of stakeholders.

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