Google removed the app Paytm from its Play Store earlier on Friday after it repeatedly violated Google's gambling policies. Paytm is an Indian financial services app that is widely used in India, with over 50 million monthly active users. Google stated that gambling apps that support sports betting in India are prohibited by the Play Store.
Moreover, Paytm's fantasy sports service app called Paytm First Games was also removed from Play Store.
Google further clarified that if an app takes users to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournamnets to win real money or cash prizes, the act violates Google's Play Store 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.'', Google mentioned in a blog post. Moreover, if policies are repeatedly violated, then the company tends to take more serious action such as terminating Google Play Developer accounts.
After disappearing from the Play Store, Paytm posted a Tweet informing users that the app was ''temporarily unavailable'' on Play store and would be back soon.
Dear Paytm'ers,— Paytm (@Paytm) September 18, 2020
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.
Google's move is also indicative of its warning to app developers, reminding them about its gambling policies ahead of the Indian Premiere League which is set to kick off, as previous seasons of the popular cricket tournament attracted an enormous number of Indians, leading to a rise in the use of apps that promote and participate in sports betting.
Google has reportedly also asked a popular, on-demand video streaming service in India, Disney+ Hotstar, to show a warning message before running any ads about fantasy sports apps.
President of Paytm, Madhur Deora, explained that Google suspended the Paytm app after the app released a cricket-themed sticker for cashbacks, upon which Paytm took down the feature, revised the app, and submitted the revised version to Play Store. Paytm is now back on the Play Store.