No workarounds needed

It is starting to get easier to download real money gambling apps to Android devices. Recently, BetMGM became the first real money online poker app to make an appearance in the Google Play store, simplifying the process for poker players in New Jersey to hit the felt on their mobile devices.

It might not sound like a big deal, but anything that makes it easier for poker players to get their app of choice on their phone or tablet is clearly good for the poker sites. It is a positive for responsible players, as well, as the more people that can logon, the better the games will be.

Until less than three weeks ago, Google did not allow real money gambling apps in the Google Play store. That policy changed starting March 1. Before then, it was still possible to use an Android device to play online poker in jurisdictions where the game is legal, but it required a download from the poker room’s website. In order to then “sideload” the app, you needed to change a security setting on the device, something that lots of people might not want to do. It’s rarely a problem to do it, unless you are regularly downloading apps from sketchy sites, but those not well-versed in technology like my mother-in-law may very well be scared off by the concept.

Right now it’s only poker on the BetMGM app and it’s only for players in New Jersey, which makes sense, since BetMGM doesn’t have an online poker room in Delaware, Nevada, Pennsylvania, or Michigan (it’s so sad that we’re still only at five states with online poker). With the poker app in the Google Play store, one might expect BetMGM’s sports betting and casino apps to be on the way.

DraftKings was the first company to have legal, real money US gambling apps show up in the Google Play store, available as of March 9. Both its sportsbook and casino games apps are there for people who can play in their states.

Look out for pretenders

With gambling apps slowly populating the Google Play store, players should be careful to only download the genuine articles. Last week, some of the top results when searching for BetMGM were fraudulent gambling apps. At a quick glance, they look legit, some with icons that include the MGM logo, one even with a blue check mark, a la Twitter.

If you study apps like these for a few more seconds, it becomes rather obvious that they aren’t from the actual operator. BetMGM or otherwise, the fake apps usually have a convoluted, messy name, designed to cover different search possibilities. For instance, one of the fake BetMGM apps was called “Live App Betmgm Mobile Online Service.”

Hitting all the different keywords is a big red flag, as is the fact that “mgm” is not capitalized. Another thing to look at is the app’s developer. Fortunately, this one is tough to spoof. The real “BetMGM Poker – New Jersey” app lists BetMGM as its developer. “DraftKings Sportsbook & Casino” lists DraftKings, Inc. The BetMGM impostors that have shown up, however, have unrelated developers like Flashcom or Vamos Games.

Fortunately, the fake apps seem to be getting weeded out.

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