Guwahati: Google Play Store has removed the app Paytm — a popular Indian financial service application — from its roster for reportedly violating its gambling policies. The app was removed earlier on Friday, said reports.
According to Google, Play Store prohibits unregulated gambling apps and other online casinos which facilitates sports betting in India. Additionally, Paytm also promotes fantasy sports services within its marquee app which repeatedly violates Play Store’s policies. The application’s fantasy sports service, also known as Paytm First Games, was available as a standalone app and it has been pulled down from Play Store too.
Additionally, Android-maker, which also maintains similar guidelines about online gambling in most other markets, stated that if an app leads any consumer to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win cash prizes or real money will also be deemed as violating Play Store’s policies.
Google also emailed many firms in India asking developers to pause all advertising campaigns in their apps to drive users to websites that offer installation files of sports betting apps.
Paytm too replied to this issue on their Twitter handle. “Dear Paytm’ers, Paytm Android app is temporarily unavailable on Google’s Play Store for new downloads or updates. It will be back very soon. All your money is completely safe, and you can continue to enjoy your Paytm app as normal.”
Existing users who have the app installed already can continue to use it for its services. Paytm is also India’s most valuable startup and boasts over 50 million monthly active users.
This announcement from Google also acts as a pre-emptive effort from the company to remind other developers about gambling policies, a day before the popular and much-hyped cricket tournament Indian Premier League is scheduled to kick off.
Although sports betting is banned in India, fantasy sports, however, are not. In fantasy sports, users select their favorite players and win if their preferred teams or players play well. This is not illegal in most of the Indian States. Additionally, if reports are to be believed, Google has also asked Disney + Hotstar, a popular OTT platform to display warnings before running ads about fantasy sports apps.
Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security, and Privacy, in a blog post wrote, “We have these policies to protect users from potential harm. When an app violates these policies, we notify the developer of the violation and remove the app from Google Play until the developer brings the app into compliance.”
She added, “And in the case where there are repeated policy violations, we may take more serious action which may include terminating Google Play Developer accounts. Our policies are applied and enforced on all developers consistently.”
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