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Mobile Betting and Casino Apps: Why the Double Standard

If you head over to the Betway website and try to download the Betway app, you’ll be confronted by a strange situation: while on iOS devices you can head over to the App Store and install the app directly, on Android you’ll need to download the Betway app’s apk (Android application package) and install it manually on your phone. The fact that you need to download and install an app manually instead of adding it to your phone’s library directly from the Play Store may discourage many - especially the fact that you have to allow ‘unknown sources’ on your phone. Why does this double standard exist?
Well, it has to do with the different policies Apple and Google enforce in their respective app marketplaces.

Mobile betting: a bit of history

The first mobile casino and mobile betting service appeared around the middle of the 2000s, a few years before the “app” and the “smartphone” became mainstream. At the time, most of these apps were built using Java - applets running on feature phones and PDAs alike - and, like the phones at the time, didn’t offer players a very meaningful and high-quality experience. Then again, it was not the fault of the service providers but rather that of the limitations of the platform.
Things changed when smartphones became a thing - but not for long, as app marketplaces were quick to banish casino and betting apps from their platforms. To be honest, the regulation of the emerging online gambling industry was also lacking at the time.

Back into the App Store

After a while, Apple decided to open up its App Store to real-money betting apps and casino apps as well - of course, it required (and it still does) for the apps and services to be fully licensed and regulated in their respective jurisdictions. Betting shops and online casinos were quick to submit their apps, offering iOS users a more convenient and accessible - and most importantly, safer - way to play.

The Play Store… not so much

Google, as you might expect, was trailing behind in this area. Even years after Apple’s shift in policy, betting and casino apps are still hard to find in Google’s app marketplace, even in jurisdictions with strict and comprehensive regulation of the industry.
Currently, there are only 19 countries where betting and casino operators are allowed to list their apps in the Play Store - and there are limitations on what they can offer. In Australia, for example, only betting and lottery apps are allowed, while in countries like Romania, the listing of online casino apps is also permitted. But when it comes to African countries, the regulations still don’t allow betting and casino apps to be listed in the Play Store, leaving nothing but the direct download method available for operators.

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