From the very beginning, Google and Apple have created strict policies regarding gambling application publication within Google Play and the App Store. As the mobile gambling industry continues to grow, both companies have decided to create tougher regulations. Apple’s recent changes made it difficult for Pennsylvania online gaming to get started and an extension was recently provided by the company so apps could be changed to meet the new guidelines.
Now, we have learned that Apple and Google have removed hundreds of fake apps from their stores after mobile threat analysts found the apps had descriptions that were not consistent with the content and could be transformed into a real money gambling application.
Most of the apps that were removed targeted consumers from Asia, particularly Chinese nationals. In Mainland China, digital gambling as well as other forms of gambling are prohibited. The applications would not have passed the criteria of the Google Play or App Store review if they were not disguised as applications that have different content.
When an app is created, it must be reviewed by the company, be it Google or Apple, and then approved before it will be put in the company’s app store. According to this recent issue, the fake apps were using a switch feature which allowed an app to be set up to show or hide the actual content. In the review, the actual content of the app was switched off so that it would pass the inspection.
Once the app was added to the store, the gambling aspect was turned back on. Users could see the content once the app was downloaded and opened.
United States Impact
In the US, rules and regulations are already strict in states where online gambling is legalized. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have offered online casino and/or poker gaming for some time, with other states now coming on the scene with online sports betting plus considerations for online casino gaming. Other states are contemplating the option, but stories such as this can lead conservative lawmaker down a path of resistance.
The thought of apps being disguised might leave some to believe that young people can access gambling apps or there is a security threat to the gaming that could be offered in their home state. However, that is not the case.
Take Pennsylvania for example. Operators in the state were ready to offer online gambling months ago but the changes to Apple guidelines caused a delay in an iOS launch for online casino gaming. Operators who offer licensed online gaming services must adhere to all guidelines, be it the state’s rules and regulations or the app store where their application will be offered.
The impact of the most recent fake issue in the US could be that providers are placed under more scrutiny to ensure that the application is legit and not being disguised as something else. New apps may find that Apple and Google take more time to review the applications to ensure that their policies are behind adhered to.