Is Apple helping facilitate an illegal gambling den by running the App Store? That’s the accusation made by a new lawsuit, claiming that freemium casino apps are running wild in the App Store — and Apple’s taking a piece of the action.
The plaintiffs in the case are two social casino app users. Each has spent upward of $15,000 on casino app in-app purchases.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, argues that free-to-play social casino apps offer the same “extraordinarily profitable and [highly] addictive” qualities as a real casino — and are capable of taking your cash, too, thanks to in-app purchases.
It claims that customers last year spent $6 billion on social casino virtual chips. Unlike real gambling chips, however, there’s no way for customers to cash out for real money. Apple’s complicity the suit argues, comes from its role in hosting these apps and taking a cut. It notes:
“Apple … [takes] a 30 percent commission off of every wager, earning them billions in revenue. By comparison, the ‘house’ at a traditional casino only takes 1 to 15 percent, while also taking on significant risk of loss in its operation. Apple’s 30 percent rake, on the other hand, is guaranteed for its ability to act as a casino ‘host’ and bankroll.”
Apple’s App Store battles
The class action suit is seeking restitution, damages, and an injunction against Apple for “[smuggling] slot machines into the homes of consumers” around the world.
It argues that Apple, among other things, is violating California law. California has long outlawed slot machines. While the apps in question don’t promise the user the chance to win money, it claims that they nonetheless qualify as “illegal slot machines.”
Apple currently faces several App Store-related battles. Recently, a developer filed complaints about Apple for knocking back a game built around coronavirus and social distancing measures. More broadly, it faces antitrust investigations concerning its role as the App Store operator.
At the end of last year, Apple cut its app commission from 30% to 15%. This applies for the majority of developers.
Via: Apple Insider