IPL Betting Games on Swiggy, Zomato Discount Campaigns Halted as Google Issues Notice
Google has issued notices to popular food delivery services Swiggy and Zomato, based on the promotional discount campaigns that the two apps were running on their platforms linked to the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL). The Google notice issued to Swiggy and Zomato is based on their gamification of discount campaigns, where customers on the app could 'bet' or predict certain aspects of IPL matches, and wins points that could then be applied as discounts on food orders. According to Google, these promotions represented violations to Google's Play Store policies, which strictly discourage any activities linked directly or indirectly to gambling. So far, at the time of publishing this report, both Zomato and Swiggy's Android apps are live on the Play Store.
However, Zomato and Swiggy have stated that they will look to revise their promotional campaigns in line with Google's guidelines. Swiggy, in particular, is reported to have stated that they have managed to extend the deadline of suspension from Google with regards to the promotional IPL campaign, and is likely to meet with Google executives to understand the postulates of these guidelines, and a way to work around them. A Zomato spokesperson, on the other hand, has stated that the company will be replacing the Zomato Premier League campaign with a "more exciting" programme by this weekend.
The move comes after Google banned the Paytm e-wallet and payments app from the Google Play Store, citing violation of its app store guidelines by the company's Paytm First service — something that fell under the purview of gambling. The app was restored after Paytm tweaked its UPI-linked rewards and cashback feature to work around Google's policies. Paytm is India's largest startup by valuation, and is one of the most used digital payments app on an everyday basis. Following the ordeal, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma labelled Google's slapping of the ban as "arbitrary", and said that Google is continuing such actions as a result of its market dominance and without consultation of regulatory bodies. Paytm's services are fully compliant with local laws, said Sharma, hinting that such bans should not be allowed to persist to ensure an open, fair market.
Google has been cracking down on apps that promote predictions and bets on its Play Store, leading to many stating that Google's market dominance power is too far for keeping the internet ecosystem open and fair. It now remains to be seen what discussions are held between Google and its app store clients, and the resultant verdict from the discussions that are to follow in the near future.