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Google tests fantasy sports and rummy apps in India

After years of banning fantasy sports and rummy apps in India, Google is finally planning to run a one-year pilot starting September 28. Developers looking to get their apps on the Play Store will have to fill out an application form to sign up for the program. 

The program is limited to developers or companies based in India. Additionally, since fantasy games and rummy are only banned in a few Indian states, the developers must provide their addresses to ensure local states allow such apps and provide bank details and PAN for taxation. Only users above 18 years of age will be allowed to sign up for any such apps. 

Signing up requires filling out the aforementioned form to allow Google to access the eligibility of a particular app to participate in the program. The company claims it’ll reach out within seven working days with the decision. The Google Play developer account specified on the application must also be in accordance with all Play policies for the app to remain eligible. 

Dream11 is a local Indian fantasy sports app that has seen massive popularity.

Besides that, Google is also not allowing the apps to use the Google Play Billing system for in-app purchases, at least during the pilot. It’s unclear at the moment why Google is doing this or what payment alternatives these apps will use. 

Fantasy sports have seen a massive rise in popularity in India, especially after the country’s Supreme Court July 2021 ruling that fantasy games are not gambling, but “games of skill” instead. However, as mentioned before, some Indian states still prohibit them.

Homegrown giants like Dream11 and MPL (Mobile Premiere League) have now been lobbying for years to get their apps on the Google Play Store, serving users with either Android progressive web apps or native apps that the users have to sideload manually on their phones. 

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