Apple Reviews Policy for Gambling Apps, Upsets Individual Devs

A new and revised App Review policy was implemented by tech giant Apple in August this year in an attempt to address the issue of illegal online gambling. As a result, a high number of gaming-related mobile apps have been nixed from the App Store, especially apps coming from individual developers.

However, the change in policy seems to have also affected many apps that have nothing to do with gambling, and as one might expect, the developers of these apps are not happy about this mass removal as no reasonable explanation was provided.

The change in Apple’s App Review policy was prompted by an issue raised by the 

Norwegian Gaming Authority which requested that Apple restrict access to a series of gambling apps present in the local version of the App Store. Apple complied last week and removed 38 gambling apps from the localized iteration of the store as they didn’t have the required local licensing to operate in the country.

This whole situation led Apple to take further action against illegal gambling on the Internet. 

According to the updated policies, Apple decided to no longer accept gambling applications from individual developers in the Store. Gambling applications in this case refers to apps that offer casino-style games or betting and apps that simulate gambling activities.

Apps not related to gambling nixed from the Store

From now on, only gambling apps coming from “verified accounts from incorporated businesses entities” will be allowed on the platform. And this has sparked a debacle among individual developers, as there are many legal and licensed devs with individual accounts on the App Store.

Granted, Apple’s aim with this new policy is to prevent fraudulent activities on its platform, but as it turns out, the modified rules ban a lot of other apps that are in no way related to gambling, and that’s what caused backlash among developers.   

There is, however, an explanation as to why some apps unrelated to gambling are being banned. The ban appears to apply to all apps that allow users “unrestricted web access” and have a “17+” rating. Basically, these apps could forgo parental control and could give children access to content not appropriate for their age. And here is where the problem lies: many of these apps have nothing to do with gambling and are not submitted by illegal casino operators.

While the reason behind Apple’s decision is understandable, the company having stated that it wanted to comply with the requests to fight against illegal gambling activities, the outcome of its actions is probably not the desired one. We will have to wait and see if any other changes will be made to do right by those legal developers whose apps have been unrightfully removed from the App Store.