Google’s inconsistent app-store stance on gambling comes under fire | Pocket

Google Play Bans TrampolineTales Game Luck be a Landlord in Several Countries

TrampolineTales game Luck be a Landlord has been banned by Google Play in thirteen countries, including key markets such as The United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The reason behind the ban is that the game has been found to violate Google’s gambling policies. However, the developer of the game, Dan Dilorio, argues that this ban is unfair and highlights the inconsistency in Google’s policies.

The Mechanics of Luck be a Landlord

Luck be a Landlord is a roguelike deckbuilder game that revolves around using a slot machine to earn rent money and defeat capitalism. The game’s Steam page explicitly states that it does not involve any real-world currency gambling or microtransactions.

In response to the ban, Dilorio shared in a blog post that he received an email from Google explaining that “apps that simulate gambling, or games of chance or skill that are conducive to gambling are prohibited in the above locales.” However, Dilorio points out that there are several other games with similar mechanics or even real-money gaming elements that are still available in the markets where his game has been banned.

Disparity in Google’s Policies

Dilorio argues, “By that logic, you could argue any game with an element of chance or luck violates Google’s Gambling policy.” He cites examples such as Jetpack Joyride, which features a literal slot machine mechanic but is not geo-blocked, and Dicey Dungeons, a game centered around luck and rolling dice that also isn’t geo-blocked. He also questions how games with loot boxes are allowed and encouraged on these platforms.

Dilorio brought up the issue with Google, but they dismissed his concerns and maintained their stance that Luck be a Landlord violates their user policies. However, the game remains available on iOS and Steam, suggesting a disparity in the policies of different companies when it comes to defining gambling mechanics.

Last month, the UK government called for a reevaluation of loot boxes in the gaming industry, but no strict regulations have been implemented yet.