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Winzo Games Lawsuit: Delhi High Court seeks Google’s Response Regarding Google Play’s Policy

On Thursday, the Delhi High Court asked Google to respond to a lawsuit filed by social gaming platform WinZO challenging Google‘s recent Play store policy (Play Store – Pilot for DFS and Rummy), which only included Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and Rummy on the Google Play Store while allegedly excluding a sizable portion of skill gaming platforms and independent developers.

Sr. Advocate Amit Sibal for WinZO Games argued that the unfairness stems from the availability of only a few formats of Fantasy and Rummy, leaving out games like Chess, Carrom, 8-Ball Pool, and Combat Games, despite the fact that Google Play Store, an intermediary, is under no obligation to control the transmission taking place on its platform.

“The matter raises important and interesting issues for determination, including whether or not a private entity can discriminate against another private entity in an unfair manner, whether or not an intermediary can act in a way that seems to be in violation of principles of net neutrality, the interpretation of Section 79(2), and what constitutes an actionable unfair trade practise,” said Abhishek Malhotra, Lawyer, TMT for Winzo.

“On the first date of hearing following the filing of a lawsuit, just the plaintiff is necessary to appear. The court’s request for a response shows that it believes the plaintiff’s plea presents a prima-facie case. According to the procedure, the defendant will now have 30 to 45 days to provide a response, according to Puneet Aggarwal, attorney for Animesh Sinha & Partners.

Before this pilot, Google barred rummy, fantasy sports, and other real money gaming apps from the Play Store because of its policy against casinos and unlicensed gambling. It was one of the causes for the absence of various fantasy sports or real money applications like MPL, Dream 11, or Paytm First Games from the Play Store.

WinZO referred to the restriction as arbitrary, unreasonable, and constrictive and claims that it can cause distortions in the competitive Indian gaming market by giving Google Play Store users unequalled access to the 2.5 billion monthly active consumers in 190 different countries.

According to the analysis, only a small number of players who have had the monopoly for more than ten years will benefit from this. According to WinZO, the change is not just viewed as anti-competitive but also as a death sentence for creativity.

The Apple store, Vivo, Oppo, and MI Stores, along with every other app store in the nation, permit all skill gaming items that are uniformly protected by Indian law. However, Google has not yet permitted any games with a pay-to-play model.

Saumya Singh Rathore, the co-founder of WinZO Games, responded to Google‘s updated restrictions and criticised them, saying, “Google Play, as a market leader, has a duty to operate in a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory manner. There does not appear to be a justification for merely choosing DFS and Rummy. There is no interaction with the sector to learn about its dynamics. There is no assessment of the impact that such a blatantly biased and arbitrary categorisation is likely to have.

Ahir Mitra
Ahir Mitra
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