The new App Review policy by Apple have disgruntled many apps that had nothing to do with gambling.
Apple is one of the most iconic tech brands in the world, with mobile devices, tech applications and a slew of other products that are used by millions of people around the world. In fact, Apple was the first to launch a smart mobile device in the shape of the iPhone; a highly advanced communication device that eventually created a watershed between its diehard fans and its detractors.
Apple created its very own proprietary operating system known as iOS along with an exclusive ecosystem that can only work with iOS enabled devices and peripherals. It alone has attracted plenty of criticism since you are forced to go for Apple even if you just want to use one simple app or a device.
As a counter-reaction to the exclusive Apple iOS ecosystem, Google introduced the world to Android OS as an open source platform, allowing hundreds of device manufacturers and app developers to create a range of highly competitive products that could (theoretically) go head to head with anything that Apple could produce.
However, this did not alter anything for the millions of loyal iOS users around the world, who spend billions on Apple iOS apps annually. The App Store drives Apple's devices and ensures that their popularity remains competitive, despite significant inroads made by Android, and more recently, by Windows with their convenient Windows Phone operating system.
Apple’s App Store is filled with all sorts of interesting and useful (that may be subjective) apps that allow iOS users to do all sorts of things, from connecting with friends and families socially, knowing what the weather is going to do over the coming few days, to monitoring their health, wealth and much more.
Among the most popular apps available on the App Store is a slew of gambling-related apps which include several standalone poker, blackjack and slots apps, to actual branded online casino apps. Many of these gambling apps sell like hotcakes and are part of the reason that Apple can stay relevant within the burgeoning app market.
However, recent events and announcements have Apple iOS fans a bit puzzled. Apple recently announced that it would be cracking down on so-called gambling content on its App Store, which we can only assume includes for fun and real money gambling apps as well.
Apple just removed WatchPlay from the App Store for being a gambling app.— Ziph0n (@Ziph0n) August 8, 2018
As with any blanket crackdown, there will always be the inevitable innocents caught in the crossfire, and this is also true for Apple’s gambling app crackdown. Many app developers noticed that their apps, which had nothing at doing with gambling and ranged from a magazine app to an app that allows you to send your Xbox clips to friends, had been removed by Apple.
According to many of the app developers affected by the move, Apple sites the need to “reduce fraudulent activity” as well as “complying with government requests to address illegal gambling activities online.”
Apple suddenly deems a lot of apps to be gambling apps and remove them from the App Store without warning. I didn’t rely economically on Gifferent but for others, this can affect their business. https://t.co/xETSANwfpe— Simon B. Støvring (@simonbs) August 9, 2018
Apple did not reveal how they determined which apps were deemed as gambling apps and which ones weren’t. According to Copenhagen-based Apple app developer, Simon Stovring, whose gif sharing app was also removed as part of the general purge, “The removal seemed like an unfortunate mistake.”
Thankfully, Apple has recently begun to restore some of the apps that had mistakenly been removed as gambling apps.
Coming to the forefront, Apple came up with its own explanation on why apps were removed from the App Store. Here is what Apple said in its defense:
“In order to reduce fraudulent activity on the App Store and comply with government requests to address illegal online gambling activity, we are no longer allowing gambling apps submitted by individual developers. The includes both real money gambling apps as well as apps that simulate a gambling experience.
As a result, this app has been removed from the App Store. While you can no longer distribute gambling apps from this account, you may continue to submit and distribute other types of apps to the App Store.”
Apple ended the note by stating "only verified accounts from incorporated business entities may submit gambling apps for distribution on the App Store," and advised the developers to take a look at the Enrollment page in the Apple Developer Program.
According to many who have studied the recent app crackdown, the reason for the drastic move could have something to do with Apples China markets. Chinese users of a social media app called iMessage began to complain of too many spam popups while using the app.
What is significant here is that many of the spam messages related to gambling, enticing users to download gambling apps. However, gambling online is illegal in China, and Chinese regulators have actually gone on to accuse Apple of not doing enough to protect its users by blocking these spam messages.
Adding more miseries for Apple, Norway also recently successfully petitioned Apple to remove gambling apps from the local Norwegian App Store as well.
Not only Apple, but even Android have also taken a tough stance lately on the gambling related apps. With so much going on with the gambling related apps, the future of online gambling doesn’t seem to go in the right direction.
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