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Google reverses Play Store policy on fantasy sports, online rummy in India

In September 2020, Google had kicked-up a row when it temporarily suspended the Paytm app for promoting its fantasy sports service called Paytm First Games

Fantasy sports and rummy apps are currently banned on Play Store for violating the platform’s policy on gambling. It explains why none of the popular apps on it such as Dream 11, MPL, Paytm First Games, or RummyCircle are not available on the Play Store

Google is changing its stance on fantasy sports and online gaming in India. The Alphabet company is starting a pilot programme to bring fantasy sports and rummy apps to the Play Store, according to the Google’s support pages. The one-year pilot will start on 28 September.
Google, however, said that developers can start applying now and will be allowed to list their apps on Play Store a week before from 20 September, if they qualify. The pilot requires developers to be incorporated in India.“We are constantly exploring ways for local developers to build successful businesses and offer delightful experiences on Google Play. Through this pilot program, we are taking a measured approach that will help us collate learnings and retain an enjoyable and safe experience for our users,” a Google spokesperson said.

Fantasy sports and rummy apps are currently banned on Play Store for violating the platform’s policy on gambling. It explains why none of the popular apps on it such as Dream 11, MPL, Paytm First Games, or RummyCircle are not available on the Play Store. Users have to download them from third-party app stores or sideload them directly from the platform’s website. Most of these apps are available on the Apple App Store in India.

On their part, developers of apps on fantasy sports and online rummy have maintained that these are games of skill and have been recognized by various courts in India including the Supreme Court.

In September 2020, Google kicked a row when it temporarily suspended the Paytm app for promoting its fantasy sports service called Paytm First Games. Google had then said that any app that redirects users to an external website or app which involves paid tournaments to win cash prizes is violating Play Store policies on gambling.

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