Apple Makes Developers Reclassify Gambling Apps as 17+

  • Developers have been told that classifications will be changing
  • Age rating for certain games will be increased to 17+
  • Ruling made to protect vulnerable youngsters
17+ age rating logo
Apple has warned developers that any games featuring frequent or intense gambling will be reclassified as 17+. [Image: Shutterstock]

New rules to protect children

Apple has gone one step further with its attempts to prevent children from accessing apps which could promote gambling.

Parents will now be given the opportunity to control how their children use its iOS App store. This includes blocking games which include “frequent or intense simulated gambling.” These blocks will take effect no matter the child’s location.

While Apple has implemented age ratings in the past, not all gambling applications have been included or given a rating for audiences 17-years or older. This is now set to change after Apple’s recent communication with developers of such apps.

Notice to developers

For instance, the Slots Riches – Casino Slots app is only rated 12+ at the moment. However, it has been reported that from earlier this week Apple had sent notices to developers to tell them that all applications would have to up their rating if they contained frequent use of gambling or intense application.

All applications would have to up their rating if they contained frequent use of gambling or intense application

The notice also states that this latest development is worldwide, and not just restricted to specific regions.

The news has been linked to Apple’s current correspondence with South Korea over an expansion in that country’s app store, but it would require all apps that feature simulated gambling, alcohol, tobacco or drug use, sexual content and/or realistic violence to carry a 19+ restriction in the country.

Age limits can be set on devices

Apple devices feature controls that worried parents can use to prevent their children from accessing such apps.

This includes setting age limits on games that have been downloaded and installed through the official iOS App store.

Age limit settings can be found in screen time options. The controls allow parents to choose a desired age range from 4 groups: 4+, 9+, 12+ and 17+. There is also an option to allow all apps regardless of age rating.

In terms of real-money gambling, Apple does allow this as long as the required permissions and operating licenses have been granted. If not, there is the possibility to geo-restrict these apps from locations where they are not allowed to be played.

Last year, Apple caused many developers upset as they suspended all gambling apps by individual developers and then went on to suspend games with real-money content. It meant many games needed to be reconstructed as the ruling affected simulated gambling apps also.

In its recent notice to developers, Apple appears to have stated that they fall under efforts to “better protect underage individuals.” This will also provide an opportunity for wider involvement with parents than ever before.

The new rating is set to take place with “immediate effect.”