Rush Street Interactive Releases Workaround for Apple Gambling App Ban

  • Apple now only allows gambling apps which are native to iOS
  • Most gambling apps are HTML5-based and can no longer be offered on the App Store
  • RSI is allowing players to download a specific geolocation app to bypass this ban
  • It seems likely that Apple will soon take action against this workaround
App Store icon on screen
Rush Street Interactive is allegedly bypassing the Apple gambling app ban.

Potential bypass

According to a press release from Rush Street Interactive (RSI), simply downloading a geolocation detection app can be a workaround that allows players to bypass Apple’s ban on non-native gambling apps. The document explains how iOS users can use this simple trick to access the RSI apps.

RSI is the company supplying the online casino and sportsbooks for the Play Sugarhouse brand. The geolocation detection app can be downloaded from the App Store. The main focus of RSI in this regard, for now, is on Pennsylvania players.

Simply downloading a geolocation detection app can be a workaround that allows players to bypass Apple’s ban on non-native gambling apps.

Using this bypass will “enable RSI to confirm that players are located within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania when they access through their mobile browsers, such as Safari or Google Chrome.”

Catering to Apple users

RSI just launched its online platform in Pennsylvania last week. Because Apple users are a large portion of the market, it wants to ensure that they are well catered to.

Anyone who downloads the Play SugarHouse online casino app for Apple devices will be notified that they should also download this geolocation app. A couple of settings need to be changed in the geolocation app to give access to the gambling app. This means that there will be no issues with Apple players accessing the gambling app. 

There has been no response from the team at Apple. Since they are already banning non-native gambling apps, it is likely that they will soon put an end to this geolocation workaround. 

Apple gambling app ban

In June 2019, the guidelines for gambling apps in the Apple app store were altered. The changes were meant to keep people from being able to place real money bets on gambling apps that are not native to iOS.

According to the new guidelines,

HTML5 games distributed in apps may not provide access to real money gaming, lotteries, or charitable donations, and may not support digital commerce.”

Only gambling apps that are native to iOS are allowed. The large majority of gambling apps are based on HTML5 because of its easy integration and quick launch time.

While the bigger developers can swallow the cost of creating a native Apple gambling app, smaller developers may not be in the same position. A lot of them believe it will cost too much for them to build standalone Apple apps.

Currently, Android has a much more substantial market share than Apple. Therefore, gambling app developers will still give more of their attention to their Android offerings. 

Complying with governments

There have been numerous attempts by Apple to rein in gambling apps. In August 2019, more than 25,000 gambling apps were deleted from the iOS app store in China. The company had come in for criticism for not doing enough to get rid of the illegal gambling apps in the Chinese market.

In the second half of 2018, Apple received 80 requests to take down illegal gambling apps. Among countries making those requests were China, Vietnam, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. 

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