India’s WinZO sues Google to stop new gaming policy, calls it discriminatory

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FILE PHOTO: The Google LLC logo is seen at the Google Store Chelsea in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 17, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/

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NEW DELHI, Sept 20 (Reuters) – Indian online gaming platform WinZO has sued Google (GOOGL.O) to stop the tech giant from allowing real-money games for fantasy sports and rummy on its platform, alleging that Google does in a discriminatory way. showed a legal filing seen by Reuters.

WinZO’s app offers real money games in those categories, but also in many others that Google will not yet accept, such as carrom, puzzle, and car racing, and thus will not be eligible to benefit from Google’s recently adopted policy.

For years, Google, the unit of Alphabet Inc, did not allow real-money games in India, but this month said such games for fantasy sports and rummy could join its Play Store market in the country as part of a pilot program of one year.

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Google said in a policy update that those two categories comprised games in which contestants used their knowledge of sporting events and athletes, strategized or memorized card drops. He did not mention other game formats and their treatment.

In its lawsuit filed in the Delhi High Court, WinZO said it had contacted Google on September 10 to challenge the updated policy, saying it was “unfair.”

WinZO went unanswered, forcing it to seek legal redress, according to the company’s filing, which described Google’s decision as one that “amounts to an unfair business practice.”

He further argued that “all games of skill enjoy constitutional protection.”

A source with direct knowledge said the lawsuit was filed Monday and will be heard in the coming weeks.

Google declined to comment on the lawsuit. The company previously said that through its pilot program it was “taking a measured approach that will help us collate learnings.”

WinZO, which is backed by US-based venture firm Griffin Gaming Partners, has a valuation of more than $350 million.

His legal challenge comes as an Indian government panel has sought the creation of a regulatory body to classify online gaming based on skill or chance, introduce rules to block banned formats and take a tougher stance on gambling websites. . read more

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

WinZO has around 85 million users in India, it says, adding that on average they each spend an hour on its platform daily. The lawsuit shows that WinZO posted annual revenue of around $13 million in 2020-21.

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Reporting from Aditya Kalra and Munsif Vengattil in New Delhi; Edited by Bradley Perrett

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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