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Google bans Paytm app from Play Store for allegedly violating its gambling policies

The “sudden” disappearance of Paytm from the Play Store comes on the same day the global search engine giant issued a blog post highlighting its “Play gambling policies in India.”

Google bans Paytm app from Play Store for allegedly violating its gambling policies
Paytm competes directly with Google Pay in India. (Photo credit: Reuters)

Google banned Paytm app from the Play Store on Friday for allegedly violating its gambling policies. The “sudden” disappearance of Paytm from the Play Store comes on the same day the global search engine giant issued a blog post highlighting its “Play gambling policies in India.” Interestingly, the blog post also comes a day before the Indian Premier League 2020 is scheduled to kick off.

Clearly, Google wants to send out a message and Paytm app going missing from the Play Store could be its first strike on apps that facilitate unregulated gambling or sports betting. Paytm which competes directly with Google Pay in India and is claimed to have over 50 million monthly active users promotes fantasy sports within its main app.

“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,” Suzanne Frey, who is vice president for Product, Android Security and Privacy at Google said in a statement.

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“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.”

It isn’t immediately clear if Paytm falls in the former category, or if it was a repeat offender. Paytm has acknowledged the ban on Twitter saying the “Paytm Android app is temporarily unavailable on Google’s Play Store for new downloads or updates. It will be back very soon.” Existing users who have the Paytm app installed on their Android devices can continue to use the service but they won’t be able to receive any updates from the Play Store until the ban is lifted.

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First published on: 18-09-2020 at 15:00 IST