In a stunning turn of events, Google has removed the Paytm app from the Play Store for allegedly violating its anti-gambling policies in India. The US tech giant also pulled Paytm’s fantasy sports app called ‘First Games’ for promoting gambling in violation of Play Store policies.
In a statement issued following the removal of the two apps, Suzanne Frey, the Vice President of Product for Android Security and Privacy, said: “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”.
“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”, she added.
The Paytm app may be unavailable for download from the Play Store, but the company has assured users that all money in their wallet in safe. Paytm also says that the service will keep working as usual for folks who already have the app installed on their Android devices.
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.
— Paytm (@Paytm) September 18, 2020
The service at the center of the controversy is Paytm First Games, which promotes a fantasy sports service and, is available as part of the company’s flagship financial app. However, it is said to have ‘repeatedly’ violated the company’s Play Store policies that prohibits online casinos and other unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting in India. Google is believed to have contacted Paytm about its concerns before pulling the app, and the two companies are now said to be figuring out a way forward.