Google Restores Leading India Payment App Following Gambling-Related Suspension

  • The app was suspended for about one day for violating Google’s anti-gambling policy
  • Paytm was running a “Scratch and Win” offer for the start of the Indian Cricket League season
  • Paytm reiterated that its activities were completely lawful in India
  • Google and Paytm are competitors in the rapidly expanding digital economy in India
Paytm download page on a mobile phone screen
Leading digital payments app Paytm has been restored to the Google Play store following a brief suspension in India for what Google considered gambling-related content. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Back up and running

Google has restored the Paytm financial services app on the Play Store following a brief suspension due to the app’s violation of Google’s anti-gambling policy. 

The app is operated by the most valuable startup in India; the company’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma tweeted on Friday that the app is available once again:

The payment app offers a number of different financial services and is a competitor of Google Pay. It was running a “Scratch and Win” offer for every payment made using the app.

This led to the ban, as this offer was in violation of Google’s stance relating to online betting. The game focuses on the Indian Cricket League, giving users a chance to earn “stickers” of their favorite players, with cash prizes for every five stickers that were collected. The new season starts on September 19; the company plans to have over 100 million users onboard during the course of the season. 

Tough Google stance

While Paytm reiterated that all of its activities are entirely lawful, it has decided to temporarily remove the cashback part of the promotion in order to comply with the Google Play requirements. A spokesperson for the company noted that Google itself has similar cashback features through its Google Pay app. 

no allowance for online casinos or unregulated apps that offer sports betting

On Google’s official blog in India, it stated that there is no allowance for online casinos or unregulated apps that offer sports betting. The statement went on to say: “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.” 

Nothing else affected

None of the other Paytm apps on the Play Store were affected by this temporary suspension and user accounts were safe and sound. Google reportedly gave less than 12 hours notice about the pending suspension of the Paytm app. The Apple app store does not have the same restrictions when it comes to gambling-related apps.

India’s digital payments market is set to bypass the $1 trillion mark by 2023

India’s digital economy is rapidly expanding and Paytm and Google are fierce rivals, battling it out for market share, merchants, and users, across the nation. Credit Suisse forecasts that India’s digital payments market is set to bypass the $1 trillion mark by 2023.