Paytm returned a few hours after it was banned by the Google Play store for violating the content rules of the platform. The company said on Twitter that Paytm is now listed on the Google Play store again. However, at the time of writing, the Paytm First Games app has not been restored. The company’s other apps (such as Paytm Mall, Paytm Money, and Paytm for Business) are still available for download.
Paytm is owned by Indian company One97 Communications Ltd, which was founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, but the company had received huge amounts of money from fintech company Ant Financials, which is an ally of China’s Alibaba Group.
Earlier today, Paytm was removed from the Google Play Store. The search giant confirmed that the app was removed because the company’s recent fantasy cricket tournament violated Google Play Store policies. Google prohibits the use of “unregulated gambling applications that facilitate sports betting.”
India’s leading digital payment startup Paytm accused Alphabet Inc.’s Google of violating competition rules because the company allegedly violated its gambling policy on Friday by removing its rival’s apps from the Play Store.
One97 Communications Pvt, President Madhur Deora which owns Paytm, said: You have a player that regulates the Indian digital ecosystem, and at the same time competes with many companies in the same ecosystem. They have all the advantages and can determine which application can be closed, and then—- how is that not a problem?
The problem arose over the Paytm Cricket League competition, which allowed consumers to win stickers highlighting their favorite cricket players and then earn real cash for every five stickers collected. This contest was unveiled on Friday morning. Paytm has been conducting “scratch and win” promotions on its application and, like many competitors (including Google Pay and Amazon Pay), lure users through cashback promotions.
The latest episode between Paytm and Google is fierce rivals that vie for merchants, users, and market share, which illustrates the competition in India’s fast-growing digital economy. According to Credit Suisse, the country’s digital payment market is expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2023, although more competitors, including Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp payment service, are seeking to compete.
The senior forecasting analyst at Forrester Research Inc., Satish Meena said: Google has a monopoly on its Play Store. This is a very erratic action they have taken against Paytm. I hope this will trigger a serious conversation that will lead to regulators to monitor Google’s power, especially in areas where Google itself is a competitor.
However, the Paytm application is available in the Apple app store for “iOS” users. If you use Apple products, you can download the Paytm app through the Apple App Store. Besides this the Paytm app, Google Play Store also pulled the Paytm First Games app, which also holds the same fantasy cricket features with real cash betting.
A few hours ago, the Google Play store listing of the Paytm application displays an error in the app store, with the content: Sorry, the requested URL cannot be found on this server. Android device users cannot download the Paytm application from the pre-loaded Google Play. However, existing users who have already installed the Paytm application on their devices can continue to use the mobile wallet and other services offered by the Paytm company.
At that time Paytm posted a tweet, confirming that the application will be restored soon, and assuring users that their funds are safe.
In addition to the Paytm application, Paytm First Games is no longer available for download via Google Play Store.
On Friday morning, the United States tech giant “Google” released a statement highlighting its gambling policy, which does not permit app developers to promote sports betting. Paytm provided this feature in the recently announced Fantasy Cricket Tournament.
According to the report, Google notified Paytm’s developers about the deletion and continues to keep in touch with Paytm to bring the application back to the Play Store.
Hours after Suzanne Frey, Google’s vice president of products for Android, Android security, and privacy, explained her guidelines in a blog post, Paytm disappeared from the Google Play Store. We have enacted these policies to protect our users from latent harm.
When an application violates these policies, we will notify the developer of the app about the violation and delete the app from Google Play until the developer complies with the application. And in the case of repeated policy violations, we may take more serious measures, including terminating the Google Play developer account. She said: Our policy always applies to all developers and is strictly enforced.
The United States search giant said that the app has been deleted for violating its online gambling policy. We don’t allow online casino applications. Even we do not support any unregulated and chaotic gambling applications that promote sports betting. This includes if an application directs users to an outside website so that they can participate in paid tournaments to win cash prizes or real money, which violates our policy. It confirmed that this was the main reason for the deletion of the Paytm application from the play store.
Deora stated that the five-player game designed by Paytm is very simple and does not have more gambling opportunities than Google Pay’s own cashback promotion. He said that if India wants a thriving digital ecosystem, none of the players should be so powerful.
Deora further said: They are the jury and the judge. They cannot be both.
Paytm First Games (app recently onboarded famous Sachin Tendulkar as its brand ambassador) is the leader in the field of fantasy games in the digital payment field in India.
Google’s ban has dealt a huge blow to the application because IPL starts tomorrow and Paytm First Games hopes to get profit from cricket matches. Paytm First Games app has developed a detailed plan to establish its foothold in the fantasy game market. The application aim is to attract more than 101 million users in the upcoming Indian Premier League and has already planned to host more than 205 live events on the platform in the next six months.
In June last year, the Bombay High Court rejected a PIL filed by a defense lawyer and said Dream11 was a game of skill, not an opportunity to earn real money. The popular fantasy sports app Dream11 has never been available on the Playstore. PIL claims that online fantasy league games encourage gambling.
If this matter recurs and goes to the Supreme Court, the possibility that the Paytm First Game app will disappear forever like the popular “Dream11” Fantasy Sports application.