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Google has put the brakes on a previously touted plan for expanding the Real Money Games (RMG) framework of its Play Store.

In January, the internet giant informed its app developer community that it would adopt a ‘new approach to Real Money Games’.

Developers were informed that the Play Store’s RMG framework would be expanded to allow RMG apps to be distributed in the markets of India, Mexico and Brazil, depending on meeting ‘user safety criteria’.

Google cited ‘positive feedback’ from developers participating in RMG pilot programmes within the stated markets, in which RMG apps remain unlicensed – a key reason for the decision being made.

January’s announcement saw Google extend a grace period for Indian DFS and Rummy apps to remain on the Play Store until June 30, 2024 – when the new framework was due to come into effect.

However, this weekend, Google confirmed its decision to pause its change of RMG policies globally, stating: “Expanding our support of real-money gaming apps in markets without a central licensing framework has proven more difficult than expected and we need additional time to get it right for our developer partners and the safety of our users.”

Though pausing its changes, Google has indefinitely deferred its grace period for RMG apps in India, “so existing apps offering DFS and rummy games in India can remain on Play and users can continue to enjoy them.”

2024 sees India’s gaming sector in disarray, as businesses and developers adjust to a 28 per cent goods-and-services (GST) tax applied on RMG revenues from October 2023.

Following a GST council meeting, Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman pledged that GST taxes will be reviewed ‘six months after coming into effect’ – however, as yet, no agenda has been published by the Modi government.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, stakeholders await the Secretariat of Betting and Prizes’ (SPA) move to publish final ordinances related to safer gambling, market conduct, crime prevention and advertising duties – needed to launch Brazil’s federal sports betting marketplace by 2024.

Google will closely monitor market-by-market developments in order to help its developer community build safe and reliable apps for local audiences.