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The app is no longer available on the Google Play Store as explained below. I have made the app available via Microsoft’s App Center and will continue maintaining it there. For the time being, you will not be able to upgrade to the PRO version (as that’s linked to Google In-App Purchases) and possibly you will not be able to use the PRO features even though you have purchased the app previously. I sincerely apologise for this and please understand that I tried everything I can to avoid this. I will release an update soon to fix this and allow purchases via PayPal or Credit Card. instead.

Google Play Store Saga

Since I released the app in 2018 almost every time I released an update on Google Play, their review flagged the app as a “Gambling App” and suspended it. Following that I had to appeal, then email fight Play Store customer support until finally someone looked at the app and realised that it is not a gambling app after all.

The reason for this is because the update review is actually not done by humans and due to words like “bookie”, “casino” or “transactions” it falsely identifies it as such. Can’t really hold that against them as they have millions of apps to deal with at the same time, but what I have a problem with is that there were no “notes” from one update to the other to say that “the app was falsely flagged as a gambling app in the past, please be aware before suspending” (or anything like that).

On February 14th I have released a new update to allow deleting Settled Bets and quite a few improvements and fixes which I have uploaded to both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The app was live 2 days later in the App Store, but same old happened with the Play Store.

This time, the app was flagged because of the “Transactions List” and they said that the app allows users to gamble using real money (see full email below). This feature has been exactly the same and unchanged since the very begining and went through numerous update without it being an issue. And this was the last straw for me. After sending them a last email (also below) I have now cut ties with Google Play and will no longer use them for any of my apps.

Appeal reply from “David” at Google Play Store:

It is basically a copy paste of the original email which advised me of the suspension. Sending the exact same screenshot and using the exact words. Very clearly no attempt was made by a human being to check these claims in any way.

Hi Alex,

Thank you for your patience.

Due to adjusted work schedules at this time, we are currently experiencing longer than usual process times and we appreciate your understanding.
Status of app Matched Betting Tracker & Calculators (uk.org.catana.matchedbettingtracker): Suspended from Google Play due to policy violation

I’ve reviewed your appeal request and found that your app still violates Google Play Policy.

During review, we found that your app violates the Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy. Please note that we allow real-money gambling apps, ads related to real-money gambling, and daily fantasy sports apps that meet certain requirements.

You can read through the Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy and requirements for additional details such as the following:

  • Developer must successfully complete the application process in order to distribute the app on Play;
  • App must comply with all applicable laws and industry standards for each country in which it is distributed;
  • Developer must have a valid gambling license for each country in which the app is distributed;
  • App must prevent under-age users from gambling in the app;
  • Apps that accept or manage wagers, in-app currencies, winnings, or deposits in order to gamble for, or obtain a physical or monetary prize;
  • App must be rated AO (Adult Only) or IARC equivalent; and
  • App and its app listing must clearly display information about responsible gambling.

For example, your app currently contains gambling contents that allow users to wager, stake, or participate in real-money games using real money with functionality that allows users to deposit or withdraw cash. You can refer to the attached screenshot for additional information.

Please note that suspensions count as strikes against the good standing of your Google Play Developer account. Egregious or multiple policy violations can result in suspension, as can repeated app rejections or removals.

If your developer credentials are still in good standing with Google Play and if your app allows for it, you can publish a new compliant version of the app by following these steps:

  1. Make the necessary changes to your app to address the issue described above, if possible.
  2. Double check that your app complies with all other Developer Program Policies. Additional enforcement could occur if there are further policy violations.
  3. Sign in to your Play Console and upload a new app using a new package name and a new app name.
We thank you again for your patience while we reviewed your issue.
Thanks for your understanding and for your continued support of Google Play.

My last reply to them

Hello David,

Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately, your reply feels as automated as the review process where no attempt was made to check the facts in any way.

I have to repeat what I said and that is that the app does NOT handle any money from the user, does not allow the user to deposit/withdraw any funds and does not facilitate them doing so with any third party. The app is a tracker. The list you have attached is the result of  user input values, not actual real money transactions.

The user does their thing on whatever website they use (separate to the app in every way) then they come in the app and type some values in to keep track of their activity. This is what the page looks like where the user types those values that you see in your screenshot. It’s literally a free-text form:

I have complied with every single request that came from Google Play from the beginning, but there is nothing that I can do to “comply” with the Gambling policy because the app is not a gambling app.

This is not the first time this happens, unfortunately. Every time it happened in the past, an actual person actually looked at the app (eventually) and realised pretty quickly that it’s impossible to use the app to gamble. It is simply a tracker. A form-based application to log entries to a local database (much like a spreadsheet).

And I’m afraid that every time it happened before, even though your team realised the suspension was groundless and in error, the suspension count is still there. And that’s what upsets me.

  • Developer must have a valid gambling license for each country in which the app is distributed – I have checked the license requirements and the app does not fit into any of them because it doesn’t allow gambling
  • App must prevent under-age users from gambling in the app – And so it does. By having the user agree they are over 18 before using the app and by the simple fact that there are no gambling features in the app that a user can use (no matter what age they are)
  • Apps that accept or manage wagers, in-app currencies, winnings, or deposits in order to gamble for, or obtain a physical or monetary prize; – apart from the upgrade to extra features which is an in-app purchase, the app doesn’t accept any of these
  • App must be rated AO (Adult Only) or IARC equivalent; and – I went through the Ratings form multiple times from the beginning and based on the true values I put in it always comes back as “PEGI 3”. I can’t control this. If you want to make it Adult Only at your end, please be my guest. The users of the app are all 20+ based on the Firebase/Google Analytics so this change would have no impact. There is nothing in this app that is interesting, useful or attractive for anyone under 18.
  • App and its app listing must clearly display information about responsible gambling. – and it does. Check the main menu

You then say this:

For example, your app currently contains gambling contents that allow users to wager, stake, or participate in real-money games using real money with functionality that allows users to deposit or withdraw cash. You can refer to the attached screenshot for additional information.

Your screenshot shows a list of values. Please support your statement with a “Deposit” or “Withdrawal” page where a user can deposit real money!

As much as I don’t like Apple in any way, the review process is actually done by a real person and there was never an instance where the app was flagged as a gambling app. Anyone launching the app and using it for 60 seconds would realise this straight away.

I have nothing that I can change in the app to make it compliant with the Gambling Policy because it is not a gambling app. If you want to suspend the app based on bogus claims, please do so. I’ll just have to move it to an android store which actually bothers to check their claims instead of firing automated message with no actual appeal review taking place.

Sadly, because of this repeated incident of groundless accusations, it has put a massive stain on my opinion of the Google Play Store and its practices and made me seriously reconsider using your platform for any of the apps currently in the pipeline to be released this year. I get you’re busy and these are busy times, but an actual appeal review should be done by a real person actually reviewing the appeal and their claims instead of copy pasting the same text as the review decision.

Due to this, I will not be making any attempts to indulge a disrespectful money-hungry company which places no value on the developers it claims to support.

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