Apple has thrown a monkey wrench into the plans of new operators who are readying for legalized online sports betting and iGaming.
In Monday’s update to its popular App Store, Apple issued the guideline that all apps that distribute real money must be native to the Apple operating system software.
“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,” the statement concluded.
Experts noted that the deadline of September 3rd is just a few days before the NFL begins their 2019 season.
Technology jargon aside, Apple is putting their foot down and stating that companies who want to release a gambling app to their customers must develop their own Apple-friendly app first.
As you can expect, gambling businesses are not happy with the thought of shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars creating new software when most have already built a mobile app.
Although operators could reject Apple’s strict guidelines and offer mobile apps to other devices and computer, recent stats show that over 49% of smartphone users own an iPhone.
Eliminating half of the market before offering online betting and iGaming is a proposition that will break most operators to following along with Apple’s wishes.
How Could This Move by Apple Affect Bettors?
Apple’s new guidelines are certainly causing issues for states who have legalized sports betting.
With several states legalizing sports betting and online gaming in recent months, the pressure has been applied to hurry the production of a mobile app to be ready for the beginning of the NFL season.
Although sports betting does not bring in huge revenue for operators, the NFL season does bring a ton of traffic to gambling establishments that spend money elsewhere in the casino.
Gamblers will have to come into a casino to set up their online accounts first, giving them a taste of the physical location of the sportsbook, something operators encourage for bettors.
So although the Apple move is inconvenient for bettors, sportsbooks may not be completely upset because of the opportunity to show customers the experience of a day at the casino.
Has Apple’s New Stance Affected Operators Already?
The SugarHouse Casino in Pennsylvania opened online betting in the state last Friday. But the casino is the first establishment affected by the new restrictions from Apple.
Online betting via the SugarHouse is currently available on Android phones, desktop PC and MAC computers but not on iPhones.
The move by Apple has also affected SugarHouse’s ability to start their iGaming later in the summer, leaving residents without an app to play poker, blackjack and other house games.
With the early-September deadline on the horizon, operators will have to kick their mobile app development into high gear to make sure they are ready for the beginning of football.