Despite its anti-gambling stance, Google makes Android DFS apps available
Despite its traditional anti-gambling posture, Google has made two Android daily fantasy sports apps available in its app store, suggesting that the company has either changed its stance on gambling, or has decided that DFS does not constitute gambling due to its skill element.
The move came as the NFL season started early September, with observers noting that US football is by far the biggest vertical in DFS and is enthusiastically promoted by market leaders DraftKings and FanDuel.
Previously Google Play would not accept either FanDuel or DraftKings on the Google Play app store. Users determined to bet using Android devices had to deploy workarounds, sideloading by switching off security settings and installing a separate file.
The new apps from the two market leaders have full functionality, enabling users to create accounts, deposit money and wager on contests presented on Google Play.
Commenting on the issue, Forbes recalled Google's original briefing to app developers:
"Gambling: 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."
That pretty much seems to sum up DFS, indicating the scale of the Google turnaround.
Forbes quotes insider information that the new 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, the publication claims.
Daily fantasy sports are now big business in the United States: both DraftKings and FanDuel have valuations over $1 billion and clearly have investor appeal. DraftKings raised $300 million earlier this summer, with the round led by Fox Sports, which reportedly has an 11 percent stake. FanDuel's raised $275 million in July in a round led by private equity firm KKR.
Yahoo is a recent entrant in this sector and is already ranked third behind DraftKings and FanDuel.
According to FanDuel's investor website, it paid out $560 million to its users in 2014.
American football remains the big money-spinner in the vertical, with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimating that $11 billion of the $15 billion spent on all fantasy sports is football-related.
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