The poker, rummy and casual games app maker Winzo on Tuesday said it was suing Google in the Delhi High Court for what it says is discrimination in only allowing rummy and fantasy sports apps on the Play Store. Google, which hasn’t allowed real money gaming apps that allow betting and gambling in India, announced earlier this month that it was doing a one year pilot with rummy and fantasy sports apps
Google’s limited scope for this pilot deepens monopolies held by fantasy sports firms like Dream11, and hurts developers like Winzo which have multiple real money game concepts in their apps, Winzo co-founder Saumya Singh Rathore told Entrackr.
Google declined to comment; the company has not ruled out adding other real money gaming apps in its pilot. The hearing is due on Thursday.
This is not the first time Winzo has sued Google over its app’s distribution. In March, the company sued the search giant over a warning Google Chrome displayed on mobile devices when trying to download the Winzo app, saying “File might be harmful,” a standard warning shown to users when they download apps outside the Play Store. Rathore told Entrackr that this warning was making 75 out of 100 users who act to install the app change their mind.
In court documents obtained by Entrackr, lawyers for Google said that this lawsuit was “frivolous, infructuous and warrant[ed] dismissal,” arguing that Chrome as well as other browsers show a similar message for all APK files downloaded outside the Play Store, and that it is not just Winzo that is subject to that prompt. Google said that the IT Rules, 2021 allowed it to show that prompt as a security measure.
Google also cited reviews from Winzo’s iOS app, which is available on the App Store, where multiple users seem to claim that they were defrauded by the app, or unable to make withdrawals.
“WinZO is among many other industry players, such as MPL and Zupee, among others, who have called [Google’s rummy and fantasy sports pilot] policy arbitrary, unfair and restrictive,” the company said in a press release announcing its latest suit. (An MPL spokesperson denied that it had criticized the pilot this way.)
The “pilot is detrimental to thousands of companies and can lead to irreversible market distortion of a fast moving gaming tech industry, leading to death of many players as the strong get stronger,” Rathore said in a statement.
Update (September 21): Added denial from MPL on opposing Google’s Rummy/DFS pilot, and corrected the date of hearing for the Winzo case.