Gambling with no chance of reward
Apple is facing another class-action lawsuit in the United States over claims that the tech company has been profiting from allowing illegal gambling apps on its App Store. This latest lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in the Northern District of California, with the two plaintiffs looking for costs and statutory damages.
The complaint also wants the courts to impose an injunction that will stop Apple from engaging in similar activities in the future. The amount of damages sought is over $5m and more than 100 people are putative members of the class-action lawsuit.
Apple was allegedly acting as an “unlicensed casino” by allowing certain types of gambling apps in its store that potentially violated laws in more than 25 states. The main issue is that Apple allows free-to-play casino game apps which offer virtual currency as users play a variety of casino games such as slots, blackjack, and roulette.
apps often give players the ability to buy more in-game currency using real money
These apps often give players the ability to buy more in-game currency using real money. Players then use these funds to gamble further, but there is no way to cash out and convert the virtual currency to real money.
As Apple gets a 30% cut from the sale of apps and in-app purchases, the lawsuit claims that the company “actively enables, permits, promotes, and profits from illegal gambling.” The complaint alleges that people in the US lost about $3.5bn in 2019 through using these types of social casino apps.
Social casino app developer named
The two plaintiffs in the lawsuit used these types of social casino apps and made purchases of in-game currency with real money. The complaint specifically mentioned apps developed by DoubleU Games.
The South Korean developer issued a response to its inclusion in the lawsuit, clarifying that DoubleU Games is not a defendant in the legal action. It also stated that no states have categorized social casinos as illegal gambling. It said: “the plaintiff of the lawsuit is based on a broad interpretation of the laws on virtual coins, social casino purchase chips.”
The developer was also named in a similar class action lawsuit in California last month in which Google is the defendant. It faces similar accusations as Apple with regards to social casino apps on the Google Play Store.
Other similar lawsuits
This is not the first time that Apple has been on the receiving end of this type of legal action. Last June, a $5m class-action lawsuit in California alleged that Apple was allowing children to gamble through loot box elements in games on the App Store.
The tech giant was also hit with lawsuits in Alabama, Connecticut, California, and the District of Columbia over social casino apps. In one of these cases, the plaintiffs claimed to have spent as much as $15,000 purchasing in-game currency.
Some game developers have been a part of other lawsuits. In February, over 100 social casino game players joined a $5m class action suit, singling out games from Zynga Poker and the Game of Thrones Slot Casino. Stakeholders of casino game developer Big Fish Games had to pay a $155m settlement across two class action lawsuits for offering games that a court deemed to be illegal gambling in Washington State.