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Mobile sports betting is live in Pennsylvania, but there is a bump along the way.
iOS users haven’t been able to place bets using their phones.
What is going on, then?
Pennsylvania has three legal online sportsbooks.
However, their apps do not offer iOS compatibility.
At first glance, it may look like a relatively simple fix.
In reality, however, the solution isn’t exactly easy.
It all comes down to the development of new mobile applications, which is far from being an easy task.
A solution to that problem, which wouldn’t be immediate, requires time as well as investments.
This whole situation creates a negative economic impact as well, since it alienates a significant number of potential bettors.
Let’s take a look at the situation.
First of all, it’s worth mentioning that Apple’s App Store does allow gambling applications.
That, for example, isn’t the case for rival Android, as Google’s Play Store doesn’t allow them.
The problem itself is related to technology.
Earlier this year, more specifically just over a month ago, Apple issued some updated guidelines to its App Store.
One of those, Guideline 4.7, was aimed at apps that provide access to real money, gaming and lotteries.
It goes without saying that gambling apps fit that bill.
The new policy forbids HTML5-based apps from providing the services mentioned in Guideline 4.7.
Long story short, it’s a massive blow to just about every single app in that category.
Developing mobile applications takes time, effort, and obviously money.
Most developers work with HTML5, with the iOS version being a port from the former.
Apple’s new policy, on the other hand, enforces that gambling apps must provide an iOS native version.
In other words, it would essentially force companies into developing two versions of the same product.
Here lies another problem.
Most sports books run third-party apps, since it’s the most cost and time effective solution.
Third-party developers build their apps around HTML5, and then port it to the mobile version.
Even if Google’s Play Store doesn’t allow these apps, Android users can still run them by installing an apk.
That solution, however, isn’t possible for iOS users, as Apple requires all apps to be downloaded directly from its store.
In this case, sports books have no option but to provide App Store with an iOS-exclusive version of their application.
Right now, the new policy affects only new apps that aren’t compliant with the guidelines.
But, by September, Apple plans to have old apps that do not conform to Guideline 4.7 removed as well.
So, as it stands, a significant piece of Pennsylvania’s potential betting market is essentially excluded from it at the moment.
This likely won’t be a permanent issue, as developers will likely work on iOS-exclusive versions of their apps.
With Pennsylvania applying a 36% taxation on online betting revenue, this also has some serious financial implications.
But, as previously mentioned, it will take time for this to happen.
Until then, it’s a matter of sitting back and watching as the situation develops.
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