Apple’s iOS Policy Change Expected to Impact the Online Poker Operators


Real-money gaming developers have been given three months to build iOS native apps to remain on Apple’s App Store

Apple, the US-based technology giant recently announced new rules for its App Store. The new rules are said to have a major impact on online poker operators.

As per the rule, every application that offers real-money gaming activities must be built in Apple’s native iOS code and will not be relying on embedded HTML5 code.

The HTML markup language has been used for decades to build websites. Therefore building on top of the classic HTML markup language adds modern APIs—including access to the file system, OS notifications, offline support, geolocation and allows for rich development that can transcend the web.

This provided the perfect common tool for developers to build an app that supports multiple operating systems. While the applications will be compiled to the native executable code, they may act as a wrapper for an HTML5 website. This is a common practice as it is more cost effective to build, easier to maintain and update and faster to deploy simultaneously across multiple platforms.

The new policy applies specifically to all real money gaming operators that offer online poker and other games, and prohibits these applications using any such HTML5 wrappers. In the beginning of June, Apple issued updates to the App Store Review Guidelines that read:

Guideline 4.7. 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.

The App Store has always allowed real money gaming, restricted strictly to regulated markets only. However, Apple does not allow out-of-store installation—the only way to download an app is through its App Store. Therefore all operators must adhere to the new rule, which will allow the platform review applications and safeguard its users interest.

Google Play on the other hand does not permit real money gaming apps at all. However android devices allow for apps to be installed out-of-store via a process known as side loading. Online gaming operators thus offer Android apps via direct download, with no restrictions.

The revised policy has already been implemented for new apps or apps that are awaiting an approval by Apple. Existing apps have been given a three-month deadline to be in compliance with the new guideline. By September 2019 all real money gaming apps must be built natively rather than as HTML container apps.

Customers with real-money apps already installed on their iOS devices will continue to be able to use them even after the deadline. However, the tech giant will not approve future updates.