Gaming platform

India’s ‘fantasy’ games platform sues Google to stop new gambling policy, calls it discriminatory

Indian online gaming company WinZO has filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging the internet giant’s decision to allow fantasy sports and real-money rummy games on its platform is discriminatory. A copy of the lawsuit was obtained by Reuters.

The WinZO app includes real money games in these categories as well as a number of others that Google continues to reject, such as carrom, puzzles, and racing games. Therefore, he will not be able to take advantage of Google’s recently enacted policy.

For years, the Google division of Alphabet Inc. has banned games involving real money in India, but this month announced that as part of a year-long pilot test, games like fantasy sports and rummy could enter its Play Store market in the country.

In a policy update, Google said both of these groups include games in which contestants tap their knowledge of sporting events and athletes, plan ahead, or memorize the order of playing cards. Other forms of gambling and how they are handled have not been mentioned.

WinZO claimed in its lawsuit filed in the Delhi High Court that it contacted Google on September 10 to protest the revised policy because it was “unfair”.

In his lawsuit, WinZO said that because he received no response, he was forced to seek legal assistance and that Google’s decision “amounts to an unfair business practice”.

“All games of skill enjoy constitutional protection,” he continued.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday, according to a person with knowledge, and will be heard in the coming weeks.

Regarding the case, Google declines to comment. The company previously said it was “taking a measured approach that will help us aggregate learnings” through its pilot program.

WinZO is valued at over $350 million and is backed by Griffin Gaming Partners, a US-based venture capital firm.

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An Indian government panel has called for a regulator to categorize online gambling as skill-based or chance-based, introduce rules to block banned formats and take a tougher stance on gambling sites silver. This legal challenge comes at the same time as these demands.

Foreign investors have backed gaming companies Dream11 and Mobile Premier League (MPL), both of which are incredibly popular for playing fantasy cricket. These investors include Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital.

WinZO claims to have 85 million users in India, and each of them uses the platform an hour a day on average. According to the lawsuit, WinZO made around $13 million in annual revenue in 2020-21.

(with agency contributions)