Apple Pauses Gambling Ads in App Store Pages After Developers Complain [Updated]

Update October 26 3:31 p.m.: In a statement shared with MacRumors today, Apple said it has paused gambling ads in App Store app pages, with no further details provided:

We have paused ads related to gambling and a few other categories on App Store product pages.

Original story from October 25 follows.



Apple today rolled out new ad placements in the App Store on the iPhone, allowing developers to advertise their apps in more places, including the main Today tab and in the "You Might Also Like" section at the bottom of individual app listings.

new app store ads today tab
Just hours later, several prominent developers have complained about distasteful ads for gambling apps appearing in their own App Store listings outside of their control, including Marco Arment, Simon Støvring, and others. The issue was also highlighted in a tweet shared by MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci.


"Now my app's product page shows gambling ads, which I'm really not OK with," tweeted Arment. "Apple shouldn't be OK with it, either."

As noted by Arment, Apple provides advertisers with the choice to have their ad shown in app categories different than their own app's category, allowing ads for gambling ads to appear in listings for unrelated apps like the podcast app Overcast.

The presence of gambling ads in the App Store as a whole has prompted some criticism, with some accusing Apple of being greedy and moving away from policies that the company upheld under former CEO Steve Jobs. Apple earns revenue from both the ad placements and its 15% to 30% cut of in-app purchases in gambling apps.


Beyond upsetting some developers, Apple allowing apps to run ads in other apps' listings has already led to the company facing accusations of anticompetitive behavior. In a tweet last week, legal expert Florian Mueller argued the ads are "another means of increasing the effective app tax rate, forcing developers to buy ads on their own app pages in order to avoid that others steer customers away from there."


In August, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said Apple wanted to nearly triple its current advertising revenue to at least $10 billion per year in the future. Gurman said keyword-based search result ads are coming to the Apple Maps app starting next year.

We've reached out to Apple for comment and asked if the company will consider tightening its rules surrounding the ads. We'll update this story if we hear back.

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Top Rated Comments

Born Again Avatar
22 months ago
Pretty gross oversight from apple.

Clearly it’s about the money over ethics with apple.

The Steve Jobs Apple would have never allowed this to happen.
Score: 128 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Maclver Avatar
22 months ago
Just get rid of ads in the App Store. I for one won’t buy any app that is advertised in the App Store as an “ad”.
Score: 119 Votes (Like | Disagree)
james2538 Avatar
22 months ago
I'm so ****ing over Tim Cook as CEO. He's dragging Apple into the ground.

This profit above all else ethos is quickly destroying the brand that Steve spent years cultivating. People pay a premium for Apple hardware to not have to deal with this sorta crap.
Score: 106 Votes (Like | Disagree)
erikkfi Avatar
22 months ago
I don’t say this often, but Steve really wouldn’t have allowed this. I don’t think Apple has the internal sensibility to know how scummy this is anymore.
Score: 97 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacDevil7334 Avatar
22 months ago
This is a great example of a shortsighted decision that grows the bottom line in the near term while eroding the brand’s reputation over the long term. Just how bad the erosion will be remains to be seen.
Score: 92 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bustycat Avatar
22 months ago
I use App Store only when I need it. The rankings are fake, the ratings are fake, the reviews are fake, and now the ads are fake, why should people use it to find a good app?
Score: 70 Votes (Like | Disagree)