Google confronts Paytm over breach in gambling rules

Paytm says Google's 'arm-twisting and arbitrary policies' in India faced by others in the startup ecosystem to

Paytm responds to de-listing from Google Play Store, says it was forced to comply with Google's mandate

In a statement given out to the media over email, a Google spokesperson said that the Paytm app was not pulled from the Play Store for offering cashbacks alone.

Sources within Google said that Paytm the app was taken down after multiple warnings to the company and the main issue is around daily fantasy sports which is akin to betting and involves high risk and real money. Interesting to note though that Dream11, which is the title sponsor for this year's IPL 2020 tournament and Mobile Premier League, or MPL which is the principal sponsor for the Kolkata Night Riders have Android apps, but they offer direct links to download and complete steps on how to sideload apps on Android devices-and not via the official Google Play Store. Google India confirms that the policies are enforced to ensure a safe and secure experience for consumers. Last week we reiterated our Play Store gambling policies.

Paytm added the ban has led it to question Google's policies in India, which are over and above Indian laws, and their arbitrary implementation - something startups and developers in India should also think about. Calling Google's actions unjustified, Paytm said that their cashback campaign was within guidelines and there were no violations.

"We maintain that our promotional campaign was within guidelines, and there was no violation".

Paytm said that it was ironic how its subsidiary Paytm First Games could do a paid promotion on YouTube but running the same advertisement on the Paytm app was in violation of Google's Policy.

Paytm says that the first communication they received from Google stated that the Paytm app was being delisted from the Play Store in India.

"Contrary to accepted practise, we were not given any opportunity to respond to their concerns or put forth our views". To promote this, a campaign was launched where users could collect cricket stickers and scratch cards to earn UPI cashback. While the digital payment app was quickly reinstated on the Play Store, Paytm felt that it had been treated unfairly. Google blamed Paytm for violating its Play Store policies and was quick to create a general impression that Paytm is promoting "sports gambling" through its app and thus, it should be removed as it is against Indian laws and Google's policies. "It was also not related to gambling in any manner whatsoever", Paytm added its blog. Paytm also alleged that Google's payment service "Google Pay" is making a similar offer based on cricket itself. In the event of repeated violations, we can also take serious steps, including the suspension of Google Play developer account.

Notably, Paytm is still available for iOS users on the App Store.

"The Google Play Support team had written to us on 3 occasions (on August 20th, August 28th and September 1st) with some concerns on a separate matter of Paytm First Games' promotion through the Paytm app". Even though the company disagreed with the allegations, they complied with the requested changes and made it.

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