Food delivery firms Zomato and Swiggy have paused their sports-based cashback games on their apps after Google sent them notices for violating Play Store policies related to sports-betting activities, according to multiple sources. The development came days after digital payment company Paytm’s app was briefly delisted from the Play Store for violating Google’s policy dealing with sports-betting.
Gurugram-based Zomato confirmed that it has received a notice from Google. “We believe that the notice is unfair, but we are a small company and have already realigned our business strategy to comply with Google’s guidelines,” said Zomato company spokesperson. “We will be replacing Zomato Premier League with a more exciting program by this weekend.”
Swiggy declined to comment on the issue, but according to the sources the Bengaluru-based food delivery firm is in discussions with the Google team. “Google has given Swiggy time to clarify, but the company has already paused the gamification (feature) on the app,” said an industry source who wished to remain anonymous. “It is not just Zomato and Swiggy, many companies have received such notices from Google.”
Many firms have come up with gamification features to engage with customers especially during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL). Zomato Premier League, an in-app gamification feature, allowed users to make predictions about the IPL game and earn rewards, while as Swiggy was running ‘Match Day Mania’ offers during the IPL event.
Earlier Paytm had also launched a UPI cashback and scratch cards campaign. Its payments app was delisted from Play Store. Paytm had said Google, too, regularly runs similar scratch card campaigns in India.
“There is a lack of clarity since Google Pay platform is also active and offers cashback,” said an official at one of the firms which received the notice from Google.
However, Google had earlier said offering cashback and vouchers alone do not constitute a violation of its gambling policies.
“Our policies don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting, including daily fantasy sports in India,” a Google spokesperson had said. “We enforce our policies very thoughtfully to provide a safe and secure experience for consumers, while also giving developers the platform and tools they need to build sustainable businesses. In the case of 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."