Separately in a blog post, the company said it launched ‘Paytm Cricket League’ on its app for users to engage in their passion of cricket and get cashback. The game allows users to get player stickers after each transaction, collect them, and receive Paytm cashback. However, it received a communication from Google that the Paytm app was being suspended due to violation of Play Store policies on gambling. "While it is clear that all activities on Paytm are completely lawful, we have temporarily removed the cashback component in an effort to meet the Play Store policy requirements. We continue to work with Google to restore the app," the company added.
Paytm, which is backed by Chinese investment giant Alibaba, also operates fantasy gaming and animated games under Paytm First Games. The platform currently has 80 million users. Last month, Ant Group (an Alibaba affiliate) in its Hong Kong stock exchange prospectus had said the firm had ‘significant influence’ over Paytm's parent, One97 Communications.
Earlier this week, Paytm roped in former cricket star Sachin Tendulkar as its brand ambassador, apart from earmarking Rs 300 crore in promotion and investment for its fantasy sports in the ongoing financial year.
Even though sports betting is considered illegal in the country, a 2017 judgment by the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ruled that playing fantasy game involved superior knowledge, judgment and attention. The court also had held that ‘the element of skill’ had a predominant influence on the outcome of such games. This judgment was later upheld by the Bombay High Court.
In a separate statement issued on Friday, the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), the apex body of such companies, thanked Google for strictly adhering to its policies and safeguarding the interest of all fantasy sports operators. "We are happy to see such strong moves by Google to re-establish a level playing field by removing any app that violates its policies," it said.
FIFS counts Dream11, MyTeam11, and My11Circle, among others, as its members. All these companies directly compete with Paytm Games.
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