In June of this year, Apple made huge changes to their guidelines regarding gambling apps. Publishers can no longer repackage a website with HTML5 technology and use it as an application in the App Store. At the time, Apple announced that September 3rd would be the deadline for changes to be made in order to have a gambling app in the App Store. Now, that deadline has been extended to March 3rd 2020.
App Guideline Changes
In the past, developers of gambling apps could use wrappers known as HTML container apps to create applications that would be quickly approved by Apple for the App Store. In June, the guideline changes were announced with Apple stating that existing apps had until the 3rd to make the appropriate changes.
Gambling operators then began scrambling to make changes to existing apps or upcoming apps in order to offer an iOS solution. In Pennsylvania, the changes by Apple were significant as the soon to launch online gambling industry had to slow down starting due to the complication.
Many online sports betting sites in the state decided to go ahead with their launch, despite not being able to offer an iOS solution. Take SugarHouse for example. The company had a soft launch for sports betting in late May and at the time did not offer an Apple application. They did not officially launch iOS options until mid-July.
The lack of iOS applications is daunting for online gaming operators. Close to half of the population within the US uses an iPhone. So, essentially, operators who offered an Android only solution were cutting out a huge portion of mobile consumers.
In the online gambling industry, a shortage of customer availability can mean a huge dip in profit margins. With less players able to access the app, less traffic flows to the site which means lower revenue earnings.
Now, with the deadline change, app developers have close to six months to make the new change. Developers will have to write code native to the iOS system, which is a full rewrite, in order to be compliant with the new guidelines. This takes time and must be done correctly in order to meet Apple’s specifications.
The timeline may work for some, but for many online gambling companies, the additional time will not be enough to have a brand new app ready for launch. For those who cannot meet the deadline, any Apple offering will soon be off the table.
The changed deadline is a compromise so perhaps the company may be willing yet again to make necessary changes or concessions to allow companies to have such apps ready for launch.
For states that are preparing for online gambling, the deadline could be helpful in the creation of their applications. However, such states also had fair warning as the guidelines were changed in June, so they already had a heads-up as to what was expected.