A large number of gambling apps have been removed from the App Store and hundreds more would likely follow after Apple implemented a new App Review policy today. In an attempt to fight illegal online gambling activity, the tech giant wiped out individual developers’ gambling apps from the popular platform. However, many apps unrelated to gambling at all were also removed without any reasonable explanation.
The changed App Review policy comes only a week after Apple was forced to purge 38 gambling apps from the Norwegian version of the App Store. Back in May, the Norwegian Gaming Authority requested that Apple should block Norwegians from accessing these applications on the grounds that they did not have the necessary licensing in the country. Currently, there are only two licensed gambling operators in Norway, namely Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto, both state-owned companies.
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The Norwegian case has probably urged Apple to take a more active stance against illegal gambling and fraudulent activities on the Internet. The latest measures show that the company has apparently taken a very strict approach towards offering gambling apps on its App Store. According to the updated App Review policy, the tech giant will no longer allow gambling apps from individual developers. Moreover, this includes not only applications where users can bet or play casino games for real money but also apps that simulate a gambling experience.
Apple says that only “verified accounts from incorporated business entities” would be allowed to upload and distribute gambling apps. It becomes clear, on the other hand, that many genuine and legal developers have individual accounts on the App Store. The changes in the company policy have not been able to reflect that at least according to many reports and complaints posted in the past few hours on social media. What caused a real backlash, however, was the removal of numerous apps that were not linked with gambling in any way.
Banning Non-Gambling Apps Due to Unrestricted Web Access
The reason behind the mass removal of apps today from the App Store is reducing the fraudulent activity on the platform, an explanation from the company reveals. Apple says it also wanted to comply with the many requests from governments for fighting illegal gambling. While the new policy certainly aims at achieving such purposes, it also bans a wide range of apps that have nothing to do with gambling or any fraudulent activities.
It appears the ban applies to applications that allow users unrestricted web access. Such apps have a “17+” rating and could go around parental controls and give children access to unvetted content, which is probably one of the reasons why Apple has decided to remove these apps from the App Store. The problem is that there are many apps with such a rating and most of them are not related to gambling. Even fewer have been submitted by illegal gambling operators and other fraudulent businesses.
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It is not clear whether this removal of mobile applications from the App Store was accidental, but multiple developers said on social media that their apps had been taken down even though they were not linked with any gambling activities.