Apple Removes Gambling Ads on App Store Following Developer Complaints

  • Apple released new types of ad placements on Tuesday for its App Store
  • Developers complained they were seeing gambling ads on their own app listings
  • Some believe that Apple should not showcase any gambling-related ads
  • Apple has also been involved in controversy over free-to-play casino apps
App store logo
Apple has removed all gambling-related ads from App Store product pages after complaints from developers. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Developers not happy

Apple has paused all gambling-related ads on the product pages of its App Store.

In a statement shared on Tuesday, the tech giant said: “We have paused ads related to gambling and a few other categories on App Store product pages.” The move came shortly after Apple revealed new App Store ad placements for iPhone users, including the ‘You Might Also Like’ section. It is not clear what long-term approach Apple will take with these gambling ads.

no way for an app developer to decide what type of ads appear

Through the new ad placements, Apple aimed to give more options to parties advertsing their offerings. However, a number of developers were unhappy seeing gambling-related ads appearing on their App Store listings. There is currently no way for an app developer to decide what type of ads appear next to their offerings.

US-based iOS developer Marco Arment tweeted his feelings regarding exposure to gambling ads for his apps:

Apple’s approach to advertising

Apple has long allowed advertisers to showcase ads in app categories that are not their own. This is how gambling apps appeared in other categories. Some people, including Twitter user and tech writer Sanjiv Sathiah, have accused Apple of greed for allowing these types of ads:

As well as generating revenue from ads, Apple also gets a cut of between 15% and 30% of all in-app purchases. Apple is reportedly focused on significantly increasing the ad revenue it generates. According to a report in August from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the company aims to almost triple its current ad revenue of up to $10bn annually.

Apple rival Google gives users the ability to limit the number of possibly sensitive ads that they see, including those relating to gambling and alcohol.

Not the first gambling-related issue

It is not the first time that Apple has found itself embroiled in gambling-related controversy. The company has been the subject of numerous class action lawsuits in the US for allowing free-to-play casino apps.

purchasing further virtual tokens with real money

These offerings allow users to play popular casino games with virtual funds. Users have the option of purchasing further virtual tokens with real money, which has led to users spending significant sums. The plaintiffs believe that Apple is facilitating the provision of gambling in states where it is either illegal or the app does not hold a license.