Google took Paytm off its Play Store for several hours on Friday — and restored it after the payments and financial services platform had been forced to take “corrective measures” to meet the policy requirements of the Android app marketplace.
Google said Paytm had violated its gambling policies. The developments came a day before the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which is known to spike interest in so-called ‘fantasy sports’ — Internet-based games where users win rewards for creating virtual teams based on the performance of their actual counterparts.
Paytm had on Friday announced the fantasy “Paytm Cricket League”, in which users could win cash rewards based on the actual performance of cricketers in the IPL. This was on the lines of the fantasy sports platform Dream11 — also IPL’s title sponsor — and in contravention of Play Store policies.
Paytm was restored on Play Store after it removed the “cashback component” on the Paytm Cricket League. According to Google, 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 its policies.
Under Paytm’s offer, users would receive virtual stickers depicting cricketers playing in the IPL upon adding a minimum of Rs 500 in their Paytm wallet. The users could then enter these players in a virtual team — and earn points based on how those players performed in actual matches.
At the end of the tournament, the top 1 lakh participants — ranked on the basis of cumulative points earned — would receive a scratch card, which would enable them to win up to Rs 1 lakh.