n the eve of the NFL season, Google’s app store quietly approved two daily fantasy apps in what appears to be a reversal of its longstanding ban on apps that enable gambling.
A substantial amount of money will be wagered on NFL contests this year through daily fantasy apps, primarily those offered by companies like DraftKings and FanDuel.
In daily fantasy, users bet on individual players by selecting a hypothetical lineup of players, and collect a cash prize if their team ends up with the best statistics. These picks and wagers can be done through a web browser or, increasingly, on mobile apps.
Until recently, Google Play didn’t allow either FanDuel or DraftKings on the Google Play app store. Individuals that wanted to wager on daily fantasy using their Android phones instead had to “sideload” the app by turning off security settings and installing a separate file.
Over the weekend, a fully-featured DraftKings app that lets players create an account, deposit money, and wager on contests popped up on Google Play. The next day, FanDuel followed suit, uploading its own fully-featured app onto the Android app store. Both companies previously had basic apps on Google Play that allowed users to check stats, but not create accounts or deposit money. Meanwhile, iPhone users have been able to install fully-featured daily fantasy apps since 2014.
Despite the Google turnaround, both startups took rather soft approaches to announcing the news. DraftKings merely retweeted one of its developers who revealed the new development, while FanDuel only tweeted its Google Play link once, and declined to share the news on Facebook.