Apple Gives Online Gaming Apps Six More Months To Get 100% iOS

Posted on September 16, 2019

Back in June, Apple released new guidelines for publishers of gambling apps. Namely, gambling apps can no longer repackage their websites through HTML5 technologies and be approved in the App Store.

On Sept. 6, Apple released an updated deadline overriding the previously harsh and hasty deadline of Sept. 3. According to Apple, the new deadline that gambling apps must meet is March 3, 2020.

A brief overview of the struggle with Apple

So, what does this all mean?

Previously, gambling app developers use “wrappers” known as HTML container apps in order to build cheaper and quicker approved apps for Apple’s App Store.

Here is what the June 3 guidelines said:

“HTML5 games distributed in apps may not provide access to real money gaming, lotteries, or charitable donations, and may not support digital commerce. This functionality is only appropriate for code that’s embedded in the binary and can be reviewed by Apple. This guideline is now enforced for new apps. Existing apps must follow this guideline by September 3, 2019.”

Not surprisingly, this update codified rumors from earlier this year that Apple started a crackdown on gambling apps.

In Pennsylvania, Apple’s new crackdown on gambling apps already caused headaches for the fledgling online betting apps. Online sports betting officially began with SugarHouse’s soft launch on May 28. At the time, SugarHouse did not have an iOS option. In fact, SugarHouse did not have an Apple solution until July 17.

Why was this so concerning? Well, considering 45.1% of the population uses Apple iPhones, gambling apps missed out on potential significant revenue.

Can app developers meet the new deadline?

As of now, app developers have around six months to comply with Apple’s new guidelines and deadline. In order to ensure full compliance, app developers must write code native to the iOS system. This means that developers must completely rewrite code.

Stuart Godfree, managing director and co-founder of gambling apps and software developer mkodo, spoke to Online Poker Report:

I would say, 95% of all sportsbook products are wrapped, containerized apps and there are very few exceptions to that. If you look at the live casino products, that’s huge because it’s all real-time video deployed through HTML pages, so they are going to have to significantly change the architecture if they want these products to still go into apps. I would think that is a nine- to 12-month job.

While Apple did extend the original Sept. 3 deadline by six months, the added time still falls far short of Godfree’s projected nine-to-12 months. App developers will still feel the time crunch and may fall short of Apple’s lofty stringent guidelines.

However, all is not lost. Apple just extended the deadline by six months. It appears that Apple is at least somewhat willing to compromise with app developers by the deadline extension. What remains to be seen is whether Apple is willing to continue to compromise after the initial deadline extension.

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Vanessa Lutz

Vanessa Lutz graduated from Washington and Lee University School of Law with a J.D. She played poker professionally and then took some time off to have a family. Now she is combining her experience as a contributor to PlayPennsylvania.

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