“On the eve of the NFL season, Google’s app store quietly approved two daily fantasy apps in what appears to be a reversal of its longstanding ban on apps that enable gambling,” notes a story just out by Kif Leswing of Fortune.
According to the report, a lot of money will be wagered on NFL contests this year via daily fantasy apps, especially offerings from DraftKings and FanDuel.
“In daily fantasy, users bet on individual players by selecting a hypothetical lineup of players, and collect a cash prize if their team ends up with the best statistics,” explains Leswing. “These picks and wagers can be done through a web browser or, increasingly, on mobile apps.”
This is obviously a change in direction. It hasn’t been long since either FanDuel or DraftKings were allowed on the Google Play app store. Only people who “sideloaded” the app with security settings turned off on their Android phones could participate.
But now, “a fully-featured DraftKings app that lets players create an account, deposit money, and wager on contests popped up on Google Play,” Leswing notes. “The next day, FanDuel followed suit, uploading its own fully-featured app onto the Android app store. Both companies previously had basic apps on Google Play that allowed users to check stats, but not create accounts or deposit money. Meanwhile, iPhone users have been able to install fully-featured daily fantasy apps since 2014.”
What about Google’s gambling policy? The one that says “We don’t allow content or services that facilitate online gambling, including but not limited to, online casinos, sports betting and lotteries, or games of skill that offer prizes of cash or other value”?
Leswing says a source indicated the DraftKings and FanDuel apps are part of a “closed, limited pilot” in the United States app store.
“The Google Play developer policies won’t change for now, and Google is not taking a transaction fee from the two apps,” he writes.
Just testing the waters or is a major policy change coming downfield? Only time — and this pigskin season — will tell.