Google Play Adds Fantasy Sports AppsPublished September 23, 2015 by Lee R
Google's addition of fantasy sports apps to its app store parallels a potential approval bill in California state.
On the eve of the NFL season, Google has turned an abrupt about face on its fantasy sports policy.
Google Play's New Apps
Despite concerns about associations with gambling and addiction, Google Play has added two real-money fantasy sports apps to the apps offered in the Google play store. The two Android apps approved by Google are fantasy sports market leaders DraftKings and FanDuel, now online as of the past several days.
This is an apparent direct turnaround from Google's position of the last two years: in August 2013, Google Play restricted all gambling apps including any falling under the category of so-called “games of skill” if they offered “prizes of cash or other value.” Google does not plan to take a transaction fee from the apps.
Easing of Policy
Watered down versions of the FanDuel and DraftKings apps were initially available as providers of information for players as part of a “closed, limited pilot” program in the US Google Play store.
This private loosening of policy reflects some public policy advances for fantasy sports providers and the industry as well: In California, Assemblyman Adam Gray filed an amended version of AB 1437, the gaming addiction bill now called the Internet Fantasy Sports Game Protection Act.
The act would require daily fantasy sports operators to obtain a license to operate in California, and pay taxes on player winnings. The bill calls for the California Department of Justice to control the process and fine non-compliant operators.
How They Work
Daily fantasy games allow users to bet on individual player performance by selecting a hypothetical lineup that they draft from players according to the system designated by the Fantasy Sports provider.
Prizes are awarded according to the contestants whose players accumulate the most statistics collectively, similar to the general manager's role in real sports.
In regulated markets, fantasy sports is already popular at sportsbooks such as bet365. The market is definitely there, and this legitimization of fantasy leagues in the private and public sector is a clear acknowledgment of that potential.