Financial services giant Paytm’s payment app has been taken off from the Google Play Store for allegedly violating its gambling guidelines.
Paytm acknowledged that it was unavailable on the Play Store in a tweet on Friday afternoon, but added "It will be back very soon".
Paytm tweeted "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." Other Paytm apps such as Paytm Mall, Paytm for Business and Paytm Money are still available on Google Play Store.
Technology news website TechCrunch reported "Paytm, which promotes fantasy sports service within its marquee app, repeatedly violated Play Store’s policies".
TechCrunch added "Paytm’s fantasy sports service Paytm First Games, which is also available as a standalone app, was also pulled from the Play Store."
Google's India Blog published an update on Friday on Understanding our Play gambling policies in India. The Google blog entry noted, "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. 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."
TechCrunch noted the move by Google on Friday came a day before the Indian Premier League starts in the UAE and interpreted it as a "pre-emptive attempt" by Google to remind developers about its policies on gambling.
"Previous seasons of IPL, which last for nearly two months and attract the attention of hundreds of millions of Indians, have seen a surge in apps that look to promote or participate in sports betting. Sports betting is banned in India, but fantasy sports where users select their favourite players and win if their preferred team or players play well is not illegal in most Indian states," TechCrunch reported.