How Will the New Apple iOS Changes Affect the Gambling Industry


Are you a fan of playing poker on the go and using Apple iOS devices? These two things might not be compatible after September 3, thanks to the new Apple iOS changes that will affect both new and existing gambling apps.

If you are one of the rare people who read the Terms of Service pages, you might have noticed that Apple has made some changes to their Apple Store’s rules. Namely, these new rules state that all apps that provide real money gaming must not be written in HTML5 but in Apple iOS’ native language.

HTML5 is a very practical computer language that allows apps written in it to be run anywhere. The inability to use it will make things very complicated for the gambling industry.

Which Poker Apps Will Be Affected?

Luckily, not all mobile poker apps are created equal, as most US-oriented poker sites do not provide a real app but an HTML5 mobile website version that can be used on any device. Basically, there’s no download required — all you need to do is load the website in your mobile browser and start playing. These poker sites will not be affected by the new rules.

However, some websites decide to take their website’s instant-play HTML5 code, wrap it into an app, and upload it to the Apple Store. Unfortunately, due to the new regulations, they will no longer be able to do that.

Now the majority of online casinos and sportsbooks need to rewrite their codes completely, and they have little time to do that.

Why Is Apple Doing This?

According to Apple, there is a good reason why they have decided to enforce these strict new rules. They want to be able to review each app and make sure that it is safe and follows their guidelines.

However, real money gaming is already a heavily regulated industry. Before a poker app can hit the Apple Store, it needs to pass strict vetting and must be approved by regulatory bodies. So what is it that Apple can address in these apps that gambling regulatory bodies haven’t already taken care of?

Perhaps the reason is that Apple is planning to launch a new Apple Arcade and is slowly wrapping up its development. Therefore, this new regulation might be a way for Apple to deal with the competition and clear the way for the launch of their new platform. That would make online casino and poker apps collateral damage.

Is There Enough Time to Make Changes?

Will the gambling industry have enough time to make changes to their apps and accommodate the new rules? The short answer is no. To provide a longer answer, we need to take a closer look at the full process of developing and releasing a gambling app.

First of all, app developers will need to rewrite the code so that it meets the new requirements put in place by Apple. After that, they will need to send the app to gambling regulatory bodies for inspection and testing. If they receive a green light, they can then send it to Apple for verification.

However, in case Apple finds something they do not like, the whole process needs to be repeated again and again until the app is fit to be uploaded to the Apple Store.

Apple gave online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker sites three months to do all of this. Even a layman would be able to guess that’s less than ideal, to say the least.

How Will This New Situation Affect App Users?

Depending on which gambling sites you visit, you may or may not be affected by this new rule. If your favorite poker sites use HTML5 apps and you play on an Apple device, then there is some reason to worry.

If a gambling-oriented website does not manage to rewrite the code in time, their app will be removed from Apple Store on September 3. It’s highly likely that a lot of apps will face such destiny since there is just not enough time to make the changes.

From the point of app users, this means that some of them will lose access to their favorite apps, which will make mobile gaming for them more complicated. Moreover, there will probably be many new apps that will pass the new regulations but will have performance issues because of the insufficient time given for the corrections.

However, as we’ve mentioned, most US poker sites do not use apps but provide gaming on the go via HTML5-based mobile versions of their websites. On such websites, you will still be able to play like nothing has changed.

Sportsbooks Affected Less Than Others

The nature of sportsbook apps differs from that of specialized poker apps and generalized online casino apps. Thanks to that, sportsbooks will suffer much less because of the new rules.

It is much easier to tweak the code of sportsbooks than to rewrite the code for each and every game in poker apps and casino apps.

It remains to be seen whether Apple will postpone the deadline, as they are faced with a lot of pressure from the gambling industry that is bracing for major losses in the fall.

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