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Paytm and Paytm First Fantasy Game apps removed from Google Play Store for alleged violation of gambling policy

According to Google, online casinos and other unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting are in violation of the policies of the Play store applicable in India.

Google has taken down popular Indian financial services app Paytm from the Play store alleging violation of its policies. The Paytm and Paytm First Fantasy Game apps have been removed from the Play Store but other apps from the company like Paytm for Business, Paytm Mall, Paytm Money are still available. Paytm informed about Google’s action on Twitter and assured its users that their money was safe and that the app will be back very soon.

The apps cannot be downloaded from Play store by Android users though it is available on the Apple store. The users who have the Paytm apps already installed on their devices can continue to use the app. Although Google has not revealed the reason for removing the app, a blogpost by Google India indicated that it was due to violation of gambling norms on Play Store. Paytm promotes fantasy sports services within its app which facilitate sports betting like Dream 11. This was in violation of the policies of Google Play store which prohibit online casinos and unregulated gambling apps.

According to Google, online casinos and other unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting are in violation of the policies of the Play store applicable in India. Paytm reportedly violated Play store’s policies through its fantasy sports service called Paytm First Games. As per Google Play store policies, if an app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money, it will be deemed a violation of the Play store policies. Google had sent out emails to several firms in India asking the developers to stop the advertising campaigns in their apps that lead the customers to websites offering installation of sports betting apps.

The Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy states in Google, Suzanne Frey said in the blog that Google had policies against online casinos and unregulated gambling apps to protect users from potential harm. She said that whenever an app violates these policies, the developer of the app is notified and the app is removed unless it complies with the policies. In case of repeated policy violations, more stringent action may follow which can include termination of Google Play Developer accounts.

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