Apple Changes Its App Store Rules and Hinders Real Money Gambling App Development

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Staff member
May 3, 2008
Mobile gambling is the current trend and considering online casino players actually prefer playing at their favourite online casinos via their smartphones and tablets, mobile gambling is the future of gambling. Most online casinos are compatible with Android and iOS operating systems, and most HTML5 games perform seamlessly on both.

And even though there are millions of Android users, iOS users are dominant in online gambling. Unfortunately for them, Apple has changed its App Store rules and has written in its app development guidelines that not all HTML5 games would be available in its App Store from now on. In fact, the tech wizard has restricted the games where real money gambling is offered.

These new rules were introduced as Apple's attempt to prevent underage gambling and protect those vulnerable from gambling-related harms. Not all games would be affected, naturally, but the tech giant needs to have control over the real money gambling apps and will approve only those that are compliant by the rules.

Apple Updates the Development Guidelines

Less than a week ago, the technology leader Apple has updated its app development guidelines. In addition to other updates, Apple has updated the 4.7 HTML5 Games, Bots, etc. rule in the category of App Design. It is stated that the new updates were introduced as prevention for kids and vulnerable from gambling-related harms to get easy access to real money gambling.

Apple said that not all HTML5 games distributed in the apps will allow charitable donations, real money gambling, or lotteries. In fact, the only iOS apps that would allow players to place bets and win real money prizes will be those apps that have the code embedded in the binary. This, of course, would put Apple in control of things and would allow for it to review the app before approving it. Upon request, software developers and operators would need to provide the metadata and the software index which is available in their apps to Apple. Then, they need to include the Apple Developer Program Team IDs for the software providers, in addition to a URL, so that Apple can use them to verify whether the software is compliant by the rule 4.7 HTML%5 Games, Bots, etc.

To clarify, this signifies that online casino operators who would like to respond to their iOS user players’ demands, and offer them the most amazing online casino and slot games, would need to develop iOS-native apps. These apps would need to include the Apple Developer Program Team ID, would allow for improved loading times and way enhanced functionality, but would also be far more expensive.

And this, on the other hand, means that small online gambling companies would lose a lot. Leading operators would have the resources to cover for the iOS-native app expenses and won’t feel this change of rules at all. However, those who are struggling in the industry as it is and have no way of funding these kinds of apps would probably lose all of their iOS user players. Data shows that 23% on global share are iOS users, so this could have a huge impact on smaller gambling companies when the new updates kick in.

Existing apps that offer online gambling with real money are expected to change their apps and update them as necessary until September 3, 2019.
New apps would need to be compliant to these updates effective-immediately.

Apple Shows Seriousness in Anti-Gambling Views

The technology giant shows once again to be deadly serious when it comes to limiting online gambling via its apps. Upon country-restricted officials’ request, the tech guru has already removed some apps that were contributing to gambling-related harms. The Norwegian authorities, for instance, have requested from Apple to remove Kindred’s app for online sports betting from the App Store.

But Kindred is not the only one who suffered from an app removal. Sure, Norway asked both Apple and Facebook to remove apps/pages which target Norwegian players to join online casinos and betting sites since remote online gambling is illegal in the country, but other countries asked for apps removals for other reasons. In fact, the newly regulated US sports betting market in North America reported that sports betting was launched and only available to Android users. And even though data showed that almost half of them, 49% of North Americans are using iOS for online betting, the sports betting app was not available for iOS users.

This means that Apple is taking this anti-gambling campaign really seriously, whether by its own will, or on authorities’ requests, and is participating in the fight against underage, uncontrolled and harmful gambling aggressively.

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