Apple updates App store guidelines: Gambling apps must now be iOS native


17 Jul 2019

Apple has recently made several changes to its App Store Review Guidelines, most notably changes relating to the “Design” Section of the Guidelines.  The most critical change that Gaming Operators should make note of is that within Section 4.7, which relates to HTML 5 Games, Bots, etc.

An overview of the change that Apple issued regarding Section 4.7 reads as follow: 

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.

Therefore, Apps that contain or run on code that is not embedded in the binary, may not provide software with access to real money gaming, lotteries or charitable donations. Furthermore, if an App does contain or run on code that is not embedded within the binary, then code distribution may not be the main purpose of the App and the code should not be offered in a store or store-like interface. 

It seems that Apple took this decision to ensure that such Apps become compliant with their existing standards relating to ‘Minimum Functionality’ as set out in Section 4.2 of the Guidelines. Consequently, such Apps would have to become ‘native’ Apps and thus would have to be designed in a manner that elevate it beyond a repackaged website.    

Since these amendments came into effect on publication, gaming operators pursuing the possibility of extending their platform to the App Store, would have to automatically comply with these changes.   

Furthermore, any Apps that already have a presence on the App store are called on to ensure that these changes are implemented by September 3, 2019. Non-compliance by existing Apps will result in their subsequent removal from the App store.  

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