Last week, Paytm was removed briefly from the Google Play Store for violating the platform’s content rules. Although, within a few hours it was restored. However, Paytm published a blog post accusing Google of “making policies which are over and above the laws” in India and implementing them “arbitrarily.” Now, Google has come up with a reply to those claims.
In its blog post published on Sunday, Paytm said that it had launched a UPI cashback campaign called Paytm Cricket League on September 11. In the campaign, “users could collect cricket stickers & scratch cards to earn UPI cashback.” Within a week, the company received an email from Google Play Support that said the app had been delisted. It said, “Your app contains content that doesn’t comply with the Gambling policy as it offers games with ‘loyalty’ (e.g. engagement or activity) points that (1) are accrued or accelerated via real-money purchases which (2) can be exchanged for items or prizes of real-world monetary value.”
Paytm also said that contrary to the accepted practice, it was not given any opportunity to respond. “e maintain that our cashback campaign was within guidelines, as well as all laws of the land. We did not break any rules and there was no violation. It is not related to gambling in any manner whatsoever,” added Paytm. It also noted, “Google, as a result, has enormous control over which apps you download through its Play Store policies. It also makes billions of dollars in advertising revenues from the Indian startups that make these apps. In many cases like maps, email, payments, shopping, cloud storage, etc, Google also has apps that compete with other apps, including, of course, the apps that are made by Indian startups.”
Google replied to these accusations today. It said that online casinos or unregulated gambling apps that facilitate betting on sports are not allowed on the platform. Here’s the full statement:
“Offering cashbacks and vouchers alone do not constitute a violation of our Google Play gambling policies. Last week we reiterated our Play Store 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. We enforce our policies very thoughtfully to provide a safe and secure experience for consumers, while also giving developers the platform and tools they need to build sustainable businesses. In the case of 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.”