Banned by Apple – How Casino and Roulette Games Are Blocked on the iPhone and iPod Touch

With the number of applications, or Apps, available from the Apple Appstore reaching a new peak there is understandably a rush of interest from operators pushing to use the iPhone platform for gambling. Online gaming is a vast market, particularly in the UK, Europe and Asia, yet so far Apple has restricted the operators from accessing the lucrative iPhone market.

Apple allows three types of online casino applications:

Simulator games. These allow you to play for free but do not offer any cash winnings. Common examples include Roulette, Blackjack and Poker. Apple has no issue with this type of application, even releasing their own Poker app simply called Texas Hold’em.
Casino guides. The iPhone Appstore includes several strategy guides and casino systems, including both Blackjack and roulette systems. Crucially these are not allowed to link to real cash-play casinos.
Casino scorecard apps. These simple applications allow a user to track their progress when playing games, for example when playing with a roulette system.
Apple’s guidelines state that “Items you offer for purchase may not contain, or relate to, pornography, hate speech, defamation, or gambling (simulated gambling is acceptable)”. This policy is clear that gambling is acceptable so long as real money is not involved.

Whether Apple bows to pressure and relaxes the guidelines in future remains to be seen. Much depends on the strict US gambling laws, including Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act, that have plagued casino operators since their introduction by George W Bush in 2006. What is clear is that with rapidly growing interest in mobile gaming the iPhone is sure to remain a major target for operators in future.

Alex Mayer is a mathematician and gaming industry professional from London, England. With a masters in Mathematics she offers private consultancy and game design services to casino operators.

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