China Behind Majority of Gambling App Shutdown Requests, Apple Reports

  • In the second half of 2018, China issued the majority of global government requests to Apple to removal illegal gambling apps
  • China made 56 of the 80 requests, with only one of these being rejected by Apple
  • In total, government requests led to the removal of 634 apps from local app stores, of which 626 were covered by China's cases
  • Other countries that requested app removals included Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Russia, and Saudi Arabia
Apple logo on a glass-fronted building
China had the highest number of government requests for Apple to shut down gambling-related apps.

China calls for app shutdowns

In the first report of its kind, Apple recorded a majority of 56 requests made by the Chinese government for the removal of gambling-related apps. A total of 80 such requests were made to Apple, placing China in the lead. In all, 75 of these cases led to the removal of the apps in question.

The information comes from a transparency report that Apple releases regularly, with this specific issue covering the latter half of 2018. This is the first such report to specify what requests were made by certain governments. Apple stated that most of the disputed apps concerned “illegal gambling or pornography”.

A significant number of cases requested the removal of gambling software from local app stores, claimed to be in violation of local laws. Out of a total of 770 apps specified, 626 were covered by China’s requests. Following investigations, Apple went on to remove 634 of these.

Apple disputed just two of the 56 requests made by China. Only one of the requests was fully rejected, with the other being partially challenged. This meant China was behind 55 requests that led to the removal of the said apps.

Other countries on the list

Next on the list was Russia with ten requests, most of which were related to gambling apps. Nine of these were approved by Apple. Vietnam was looking for the removal of 29 illegal gambling apps through three different requests, each of which was either met with rejection or partially challenged. Only one ended up being accepted, leading to the removal of nine gambling apps. China and Vietnam were the only nations to put in app removal requests from the Asia-Pacific region.

In the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, and Austria all filed a single request to Apple relating to illegal gambling apps. After investigation, each of these requests was met with approval from Apple. The Netherlands also had two successful requests relating to gambling apps.

The other countries included Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. For future transparency reports of this kind, Apple will be giving more details as to why certain government requests were met with rejection.

Apple’s persistent campaign

Apple is constantly looking to maintain the integrity of its app offering to ensure they all comply with local laws. In recent times, it has placed particular focus on getting rid of illegal gambling apps.

According to Chinese authorities, Apple removed a few thousand such apps in August 2018. However, these were followed by complaints from the Chinese media. Allegedly, people who had downloaded such apps before they got removed from the store were still receiving updates and push notifications from these offerings.

Apple has also experienced some mishaps along the way. Also in August 2018, the company accidentally took away a few apps which were not actually promoting illegal gambling. Later in February 2019, it was reported that some gambling apps got through the Apple screening system when they shouldn’t have.