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Google’s decision to launch pilot to allow rummy, fantasy sports on Play Store, called “discriminatory”

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Google announced to launch a pilot that would allow rummy and fantasy sports and applications on Play Store in India. On September 8, Thursday, the industry experts accused the tech company of being “clearly discriminatory” for lacking inclusivity in adding other games in the same bracket.

The pilot allowing for the distribution of rummy applications and daily fantasy sports (DFS) to Indian users will be incorporated into the Play Store from September 28. The CEO of All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), Roland Landers, said that while it is a progressive step, it needs to be inclusive.

Landers said that the category of games of skill is broad, and rummy and fantasy gaming are only two game formats. He insisted that poker is also a game of skill, as considered by several High Courts in India. He reckons that this move by Google will be challenging for MSMEs and newer developers since they would not be able to compete with established companies and that their varied skill game offerings would be kept out of the Play Store ecosystem.

“Games of skill is a broad category, and fantasy gaming and rummy are just two game formats considered in this pilot programme by Google. Poker, too, is considered a game of skill by several High Courts in India. Likewise, there are numerous developers who offer classic as well as innovative games of skill,” Landers was quoted as saying in pgrus.com.

The Managing Director of Ability Games, Suraj Chokhani, stated that in spite of Google’s “hegemony and seemingly arbitrary apps,” the online gaming industry in the nation has grown from time to time, attaining over 300 million downloads. He said that a lot more clarity is needed on the payment gateways that the apps listed on Playstore can use and if other skill-based gaming applications would also be allowed. “We will have to wait and watch to see how the situation unfolds in the near future,” said Chokhani.

Abhishek Malhotra, the Managing Director of TMT Law Practice, voiced that the exclusion of all ‘Real Money Games’ (RMG) barring Fantasy and Rummy is discriminatory. He said that the decision needs a “rethink” or Google may invite litigation.

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