IPL 2020: Swiggy, Zomato stops IPL 2020 gamification after notices from Google

Google has sent notices to food delivery platforms Swiggy and Zomato for gamification and promotions related to IPL matches. Both platforms have paused their sports-based cash-back games on their apps after receiving the notices citing violation of Play Store policies related to sports-betting activities, according to various sources. 

The development came days after digital payment company Paytm’s app was briefly delisted from the Play Store for violating Google’s policy dealing with sports-betting. Both the apps were running gamification-related cashback and discount promos since the cricket league began earlier this month in an attempt to revive consumer demand, which has been hit due to the pandemic.

Both Zomato and Swiggy have taken down the schemes now. 

Gurugram-based Zomato confirmed that it has received a notice from Google. “We believe that the notice is unfair, but we are a small company and have already realigned our business strategy to comply with Google’s guidelines,” said the company’s spokesperson. “We will be replacing Zomato Premier League with a more exciting program by this weekend.”
 
The development comes after Google took down mobile payments platform Paytm earlier this month for promoting its fantasy gaming unit and running IPL related cash-back offers.
 
IPL 2020: Many Indian e-commerce firms have integrated gamification features on IPL 2020 on their apps
 

Many firms have come up with gamification features to engage with customers especially during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL 2020). Zomato Premier League, an in-app gamification feature, allowed users to make predictions about the IPL game and earn rewards, while as Swiggy was running ‘Match Day Mania’ offers during the IPL event.

Earlier Paytm had also launched a UPI cashback and scratch cards campaign. Its payments app was delisted from Play Store. Paytm had said Google, too, regularly runs similar scratch card campaigns in India.

“There is a lack of clarity since Google Pay platform is also active and offers cashback,” said an official at one of the firms which received the notice from Google.

However, Google had earlier said offering cashback and vouchers alone do not constitute a violation of its gambling policies.

“Our policies don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting, including daily fantasy sports in India,” a Google spokesperson had said. 

Earlier this week, Google also said it will start charging 30% fees for a subscription of services like education technology, fitness, and content — which has also led to startups questioning Google’s monopolistic hold on the Indian smartphone market through its Android operating system. Vijay Shekhar Sharma of PayTM earlier had called the control exerted by Google on the Indian internet space “an ecosystem concern.”