Home Technology Google pulls India’s Paytm app from Play Store for repeat policy violations

Google pulls India’s Paytm app from Play Store for repeat policy violations

Paytm Payments Bank board is installed outside a branch in New Delhi india on 08 December 2019 (Photo by Nasir Kachroo/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Google has pulled Indian financial services app Paytm from the Play Store for repeatedly violating its policies. Paytm is India’s most valued startup and claims over 50 million monthly active users. Its marquee app, which allows users to exchange money with one another, disappeared from the Play Store in India earlier Friday.

On Friday, Google said that Play Store prohibits online casinos and other unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting in India, a day before the popular cricket tournament Indian Premier League is scheduled to kick off.

The Android-maker, which maintains similar guidelines in most other markets, additionally noted that if an app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes is also in violation of its Play Store policies.

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. Today’s announcement is Google’s attempt to remind developers about its Play Store guidelines and crack down on future sketchy practices, TechCrunch understands.

Sports betting is banned in India, but fantasy sports where users select their favorite players and win if their preferred team or players play well is not illegal in most Indian states.

A person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that Google has also asked Disney+ Hotstar, one of the most popular on-demand video streaming services in India, to display a warning before running ads for fantasy sports apps.

“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,” wrote Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy, in a blog post.

“And in the case where there are repeated policy violations, we may take more serious action which may include terminating Google Play Developer accounts. Our policies are applied and enforced on all developers consistently,” she added.

More to follow…