Apple Confirms Removing as Many as 25,000 Illegal Gambling-Related Apps From App Store in China

Apple today confirmed it has removed "many" illegal gambling apps, and developers distributing them, from its App Store in China.

The Wall Street Journal:

"Gambling apps are illegal and not allowed on the App Store in China," Apple said in a statement Monday. "We have already removed many apps and developers for trying to distribute illegal gambling apps on our App Store, and we are vigilant in our efforts to find these and stop them from being on the App Store."

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said 25,000 apps have been removed as of Sunday—which would be less than two percent of the estimated 1.8 million apps on the App Store in the country—but Apple hasn't confirmed any numbers.

Apple began cracking down on gambling-related apps earlier this month, providing affected developers with the following explanation:

In order to reduce fraudulent activity on the App Store and comply with government requests to address illegal online gambling activity, we are no longer allowing gambling apps submitted by individual developers. The includes both real money gambling apps as well as apps that simulate a gambling experience.

As a result, this app has been removed from the App Store. While you can no longer distribute gambling apps from this account, you may continue to submit and distribute other types of apps to the App Store.

Apple notes that verified accounts from incorporated business entities may still submit gambling apps for distribution on the App Store.

MacRumors reported on Apple's crackdown on gambling-related apps in the App Store earlier this month, noting that some apps that have been banned as a result appear to have very little to do with gambling at all. Most of the apps have been removed from the App Store not only in China, but around the world.

Apple's move follows the Chinese state media scrutinizing the company earlier this month for allowing illegal content like gambling apps and spam messages to be distributed freely through the App Store and iMessage. As for the latter, Apple is reportedly working with Chinese carriers to reduce iMessage spam.

This isn't the first time Apple has catered to Chinese government demands. Last July, for example, the company removed VPN apps from the App Store in China. Six months prior, Apple pulled the The New York Times app in China.

"We would rather not remove apps, but like we do in other countries, we follow the law where we do business," said Apple CEO Tim Cook last year.

All of this comes amid growing tensions between the United States and China over trade.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
28 months ago
Apple: We are the silver knight of personal freedom. Buy our stuff and we'll do our best to protect your information from anyone trying to access it!
China: Hey, we'll have none of that or you're out of here!
Apple: Whops, right, sorry, we'll fix that immediately. Here: We give you a little "something" for that sweet company of yours Didi as compensation. Anything else we can do for ya?
Chine: Yes, remove gambling apps, we do not like gambling apps. Also, we do not like iMessages, it's encrypted, we can't read what people are talking about, fix that too.
Apple: Right you are, we'll get cracking immediately.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago

I would see hiring a hitman being a crime but putting coins in the slot machines (or similar forms like we have Pachinko here, in Japan) is just a silly choice by people.

The issue with gambling is the addiction, where people put all their savings and even accrue loans to cover gambling debt. This has caused pain for relations and destroyed families, turning to crime to acquire more funds and in the worst cases suicide.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago

The issue with gambling is the addiction, where people put all their savings and even accrue loans to cover gambling debt. This has caused pain for relations and destroyed families, turning to crime to acquire more funds and in the worst cases suicide.

You are talking about severe cases.
This way, one could argue that alcohol, cigarettes, fizzy drinks, pharmaceutical drugs are also highly addictive and should be made illegal. How about stock market? Many people failed there and lost all.

When will they ban alcohol? When will cigarettes will be illegal? When will they ban a sale of pharma drugs? When will they knock down Wall Street and jail all their gamblers.

Btw, knife is a deadly weapon.
Do you have a kitchen? Do you cook?
If yes, you are a potential murderer :)

In simple understanding, you can find daft enough people abusing anything. Or get abused by anything.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago

Also, we do not like iMessages, it's encrypted, we can't read what people are talking about, fix that too.
Apple: Right you are, we'll get cracking immediately.

Completely misrepresenting what is happening.

It seems that crooks in China have figured out how to send spam through iMessage. And since it is encrypted, you can't detect it is spam until the user reads it. That's what the Chinese government doesn't like, and I personally don't like it either. So they are trying to figure out what is spam and what is not. Which is a bit difficult, since Apple can't read the messages until _your_ phone decrypts them.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago
this is not so much anti-gambling, per se, but rather that the chinese government is attempting to be able to tax a higher percent of revenue from apps in general.
the statement from apple says: "we are no longer allowing gambling apps submitted by individual developers."
(bold emphasis added).
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
28 months ago

Apple: We are the silver knight of personal freedom. Buy our stuff and we'll do our best to protect your information from anyone trying to access it!

Personal freedom != data privacy.

Apple has a stellar record on the latter, while the former, in regards to the App Store, has never been something they have claimed. Apple has curated the App Store since day 1, and limits content based on laws in every country. Most countries have laws which limit content that can legally be made available. Gambling is one of them in many places, not just China. Prohibiting online gambling is one of the least problematic things China has done. You or I may think it’s dumb (it’s probably actually beneficial given the dangers of gambling) but it’s hardly despotic. Now their policies on say political dissidents, THOSE are worth getting upset about.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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