Indian digital payments giant Paytm and its fantasy sports and online gaming venture Paytm First Games have been pulled down from the Play Store for allegedly violating Google’s gambling policies.
Users cannot download or update both these apps from the Google Play Store but existing customers can continue to use them.
Google, in an effort to provide a safe and secure experience for its users, discourages developers to create applications that promote real-money gambling, games, and contests.
“Google Play does not allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting,” reads a statement by Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security, and Privacy.
Paytm First Games, which allows users to play fantasy cricket, poker, and rummy with real money, has been actively promoted by Paytm through its payments app.
“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 Google’s policies,” Frey’s statement further adds.
When an app violates these norms, Google notifies the developer of the violation and removes the app from the Play Store until the developer brings the app into compliance.
Paytm, however, remained confident about the reversal of this ban and was quick to reassure its users about their saved funds.
Dear Paytm'ers,— Paytm (@Paytm) September 18, 2020
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.
This ban comes as a preventive measure from Google a day before the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, which often sees a surge in sports betting.
Fantasy sports apps, though legal in the majority of Indian states, are still not available on the Play Store due to Google's real-money policies.
Paytm has been aggressively marketing Paytm First Games to widen its reach in the fast-growing fantasy sports industry, currently dominated by Dream11.
Indian cricket great Sachin Tendulkar was signed as the brand ambassador of the Noida-based gaming firm, earlier this month.
It was also the exclusive gaming partner of Jamaica Tallawahs in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020.