Google on Friday posted a blog titled “Understanding our Play gambling policies in India” where it highlighted the issues related to such apps that endorse or promote gambling in India.
Paytm has posted a tweet where it claims that the Android app is “temporarily unavailable” on Google Play. for new downloads or updates. It will be back very soon. Further, the app has clarified that customers do not need to worry that this doesn’t change anything for the money in digital wallets of customers.
Highlighting the issue of online casinos available through the app, Google’s Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy wrote, “We don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting. This includes if an app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes, it is a violation of our policies.”
Further, Frey said, “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. 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.”
PayTM has not reacted to the development up till now.
The announcement today from Google is also a preemptive attempt from the company to remind other developers about its gambling policies a day before the popular cricket tournament Indian Premier League is scheduled to kick off.
Previous seasons of IPL, which last for nearly two months and attract the attention of hundreds of millions of Indians, have seen a surge in apps that look to promote or participate in sports betting.
Sports betting is banned in India, but fantasy sports where users select their favorite players and win if their preferred team or players play well is not illegal in most Indian states.
According to information coming in from sources, Google has also asked Disney+ Hotstar, one of the most popular on-demand video streaming services in India, to display a warning before running ads about fantasy sports apps.
“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,” wrote Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy, in a blog post.