Home >Technology >News >As IPL returns, Google says it'll remove any apps facilitating sports betting
(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

As IPL returns, Google says it'll remove any apps facilitating sports betting

  • Paytm's fantasy gaming platform Paytm First Games was found violating Google's online gambling policies in India
  • Google says it doesn't allow online casinos or supports any unregulated gambling apps, including apps that lead users to external website

New Delhi: Google on Friday said it has removed Paytm app from the Play Store for violation of its policy on sport betting activities by promoting its fantasy gaming platform Paytm First Games.

Paytm will not be available for download now but there will be no impact on existing users of the app.

"The app was blocked for violation of play policies - a clarification of our policy was released earlier today ahead of the IPL tournament," Google said in an e-mailed response on Friday.

Google also said that only the app availability on Play Store is impacted and there is no impact on users. The tech giant's move comes on the eve of the Indian Premier League beginning in UAE.

The fintech major's subsidiary has recently roped in cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar as its brand ambassador.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder & CEO – Paytm had said: “Sachin represents the dreams and aspirations of a billion-plus people. He is the pride of our country and the true embodiment of excellence, tenacity, and hard work. This association is based on many of the values we share with the greatest sportsperson of all time. Just like Sachin, we believe that country comes over everything else, followed by the company and finally team. We hope that together we inspire millions of citizens to follow their dreams and achieve greatness."

Sachin Tendulkar had said: “Cricket is an engaging sport, and we all tend to have opinions about the game – right from player selection to playing strategies. Paytm First Games will give fans the opportunity to don their thinking hats and experience the thrill of making the correct choices and getting their teams to win. I am happy to partner with Paytm First Games to enable cricket fans to engage more with the ever-popular game of cricket."

Over the next six months, over 200 live events would be featured on the platform, including international and domestic cricket tournaments, soccer leagues and others, it added.

Paytm First Games offers over 50 games where the most popular is fantasy sports where players apply research and strategy to engage with live sporting events. The platform currently engages with over 80 million gaming enthusiasts with the majority of them from smaller cities and towns.

The company has also earmarked 300 crore to invest in growing the market for fantasy sports and other online gaming events this fiscal.

Interestingly, fantasy app Dream11, the title sponsor of this year's IPL, has never been available on Play Store.

Also, other popular online gaming platforms like WinZO and Mobile Premier League (MPL), which allow players to put real money and then rewards them with cash prizes, are not listed or were taken down from Play Store. For instance, MPL was launched on Play Store in October 2018 and was taken down in May 2019.

Apps of most of these real money gaming platforms can be downloaded directly from their official websites and sideloaded on the phones.

"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," Google said in a blog post.

"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. 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," the blog further stated.

Google did not specify if any apps have been removed for non-compliance on these grounds. Google India said it may terminate Google Play developer account for repeated violations of its Google Play gambling policies.

"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," the blog posted by Android Security and Privacy Vice President Product Suzanne Frey said.

The tech giant also said that Google Play is designed to provide a safe and secure experience for consumers while also giving developers the platform and tools they need to build sustainable businesses.

"Our global policies have always been designed with that goal in mind, considering the good of all our stakeholders. We have the same goals for our gambling policy," it said.

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