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Google's Extension of Real Money Gaming Pilot Programs Receives Backlash from Indian Firms

CIO Insider Team | Saturday, 22 June, 2024

Small and startup gaming companies in India have expressed their disapproval over Google's announcement to extend its online real money gaming pilot program indefinitely.

The tech giant has been accused of anti-competitive and arbitrary behavior by these firms.

Google decided to prolong the trial program, which has been running since September 2022, as it is finding it difficult to establish a strong foundation for real-money gaming in nations like India that do not have a formal licensing system.

Citing Google's dominant market position, the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has expressed significant opposition to the move, labeling it a kind of gatekeeping and market distortion.

The decision, according to AIGF CEO Roland Landers, not only violates Indian law but also restricts consumer choice by favoring larger corporations at the expense of smaller and up-and-coming enterprises.

There has always been tension between Google and Indian startups. The Competition Commission of India has already issued antitrust orders against the firm, which resulted in the removal of various Indian apps from its Play Store.

However, these apps were later reinstated after government intervention. Industry insiders are urging the Digital Competition Bill to be swiftly implemented in order to address these persistent challenges as the discussion heats up.

The tech giant has been accused of anti-competitive and arbitrary behavior by these firms.

Google promised that the new policy would go into effect after June 30, 2024. AIGF expressed concern about Google's decision to restrict the pilot to specific games, but thought it would eventually be expanded to include all skill-based Pay to Play games.

The Competition Commission of India, an antitrust body, had previously ordered Google not to enforce an earlier system of charging 15–30 percent. Google then imposed a fee of 11–26 percent on in-app purchases.

In September 2022, Google launched a pilot program for distributing DFS and Rummy apps to users in India. The selected apps from Dream11, Games24x7, etc. (that command high market share).

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