Google Makes an Exception to Gambling Ban Policy, Approves DFS Sports Betting Apps

Draft Kings

Draft KingsFan Duel and DraftKings are having a heyday nowadays, because something great came around before the start of the 2015 NFL season. Google had silently granted its approval to the two-leading daily fantasy sport (DFS) betting operators, to offer full-feature sports betting app at the Play Store.

The weekend immediately following Google’s approval, both DraftKings (DK) and Fan Duel (FD) uploaded a full-service Android app that enables their respective customers to open a real money account, deposit real money and place bets on daily fantasy sports betting contests. DK and FD though spread the word about the development via Twitter. Jordan Mendell, the Chief Product Officer at DraftKings had tweeted that the DK official full-featured Android app is already up and available to download Free at the Google Play Store.

According to, a source privy to information on how the Google approval came around disclosed that the DK and FD real-money betting app is part of a “limited, closed pilot” in the Play Store. However, the DK and FD app exception made by Google does not change the Play Store policies governing the developer program. Both DrafKings and Fan Duel declined to give their comments about the groundwork that led to Google’s approval of their app.

The Play Store still does not allow the publishing of apps that offer service or content that makes gambling online possible, including but not limited to those offered by online casinos, lotteries, sport betting or even games of skill that award cash prizes or similar things of value. Accordingly, Google has not taken any transaction fee from the new betting apps being offered by DK and FD to DFS players.

Fortune reports that the Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates that of the US$15 billion waged on fantasy sports betting, as much as US$11 million is football-related. According to Fortune, the timeliness of Google’s approval will enable the two DFS betting giants to attract Android-users looking to place fantasy sport bets on professional football.

Will Google Change its Real Money Gambling Ban Policy?

Many believe that Google’s recent move is an indication that Google’s rules regarding DFS apps might change. Too early to tell though, since a ranking Democratic member of Congress, Rep. Frank Pallone (NJ 6th District) is requesting the U.S. House of Representatives to look into the legality of daily fantasy sport betting.

Apparently irked by the flood of fantasy sports advertisements he saw while watching the NFL games last weekend, Rep. Pallone is calling on Congress to take a closer look at the connection between gambling and fantasy sport betting. Through a press release, Ranking Member Pallone made mention of the loophole created by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) as it specifically exempts fantasy sport games. He added that the loophole had blurred the line that distinguishes betting activities at DFS websites, from betting conducted by way of online gambling.

Rep. Pallone asked what makes wagering on an outcome of a game any different from fans risking money wagered on the performance of an individual player. He contends that the relationship between professional leagues and DFS websites raises some serious questions, especially leagues that actively endorse DFS websites, like Fan Duel and DraftKing. He argued that both players and leagues have the capability to influence the outcome of a fantasy sport game.