App Store could get flooded with gambling apps, after SCOTUS kills sports wager ban

Posted:
in iPhone edited May 14
The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a 1992 law that barred most states from allowing sports wagers. AppleInsider takes a look at what that means for gambling apps in the App Store.

The Bovada gambling sports-tracking app


In a landmark ruling Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA), a 1992 federal law that amounted to a ban on sports gambling in every state but Nevada. States will now be allowed to pass laws allowing sports gambling.

New Jersey is expected to be the first state to do so, with as many as two dozen other states also in the process.

As a result of the ruling, according to ESPN, "the majority of interested states plan to offer online and/or mobile wagering," with the majority of wagering taking place online.

Online sports gambling is technically illegal in the United States. But those laws, especially after Monday's ruling, are looking increasingly untenable.

State of Play

The App Store's guidelines when it comes to gambling


It's possible, though not certain, that the SCOTUS ruling could eventually lead to the floodgates opening on new, sports gambling-related apps in the App Store.

The legal status of gambling in the App Store has always been somewhat murky. Apple's developer guidelines state that "Gambling, gaming, and lotteries can be tricky to manage and tend to be one of the most regulated offerings on the App Store," and urges developers to "only include this functionality if you've fully vetted your legal obligations everywhere you make your app available and are prepared for extra time during the review process."

There's no blanket ban on gambling-related App Store apps the way there is for pornography or weapons sales. But Apple does state that such apps "must have necessary licensing and permissions in the locations where the App is used, must be geo-restricted to those locations, and must be free on the App Store."

The App Store, in the U.S., currently only offers a handful of sports gambling-related apps. Some offer full-on betting, while others simply list odds. One app, called Sportsbook: Sports Betting, includes a disclaimer that "despite using real odds, sports events and scores, betting is simulated and no cash out option is available." Bovada, one of the leading sports gambling sites, offers a bet tracker app in the App Store-- for following bets made on the website -- but does not allow direct wagers.

And there is, of course, the popular gambling-adjacent genre of Daily Fantasy Sports apps, from the likes of Draft Kings and FanDuel.

Barriers to entry

The App Store front page


So what's stopping widespread adoption of sports gambling apps? Due to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), of 2006, most direct online wagering is illegal in the United States. This has led to high-profile shutdowns of poker websites, among other gambling concerns.

The UIGEA was passed at a time before smartphone apps even existed, so how it applies to the App Store is unclear, nor has that question ever been tested in court. In addition, enforcement of the law has been spotty and inconsistent, with no major raids or prosecutions under the law in recent years. Lawmakers, of late, have spent more energy targeting app developers' use of "loot boxes," which have been compared to "casinos for kids."

Possible repeal

Societal attitudes have changed over time. Sports leagues are not nearly as opposed to gambling as they once were -- with the NFL and NHL recently putting teams in Las Vegas -- and Monday's ruling may serve as precedent for a reexamination, if not an outright repeal, of the UIGEA. A legislative repeal, if passed, would ultimately reach the desk of a president who spent years in the casino business himself.

"if PASPA is repealed and states start offering sports betting unhindered the courts may have no choice but to re-examine the UIGEA," Hartley Henderson wrote last week on the website of the Off Shore Gaming Association, citing legal experts.

Apple has not commented about any potential changes to its gambling policies. It appears clear that cultural attitudes have evolved towards greater acceptance of gambling -- and now the law has as well.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,277member
    I bet we will see such apps ... oh wait ...
  • Reply 2 of 33
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,099member
    You think people are addicted to their phone's today, wait until people can waste time and money at the same time. Yeah this going to the opioid addiction of the cell phone industry.
    edited May 14 williamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 33
    nunzynunzy Posts: 313member
    Apple can ban anything it wants to ban in its own store.

    You can't force a Bible store to carry Satanic verses and not even the supreme court can make Apple sell gambling to its user base.
    cgWerkstallest skilStrangeDays
  • Reply 4 of 33
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,341member
    nunzy said:
    Apple can ban anything it wants to ban in its own store.

    You can't force a Bible store to carry Satanic verses and not even the supreme court can make Apple sell gambling to its user base.
    True...its basically just like how Apple bans Adult Content on their store. Its their store and they can ban whatever they wish as long as their consistent. We'll see if Apple does indeed keep these types of apps off the store. 
  • Reply 5 of 33
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,899member
    I'm sure Apple will be blamed in the future for people gambling away their money. 
    tylersdadmacseekerwilliamlondontallest skillkruppracerhomie3
  • Reply 6 of 33
    xbitxbit Posts: 199member
    The App Store is already full of sports betting apps, even if they aren’t available to US customers. The European and Asian betting companies have mature mobile apps and new entrants are going to have a hard time competing.
  • Reply 7 of 33
    brad6788brad6788 Posts: 4member
    If this does happen, their services revenue will explode. 30% of all in app purchases....
    edred
  • Reply 8 of 33
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 781member
    I am quite convinced that a lot or most online wagering sites that have something like blackjack or slots are rigged. The players are the ones getting played. It's a lot like those online auction sites that advertise "Joe got a MacBook Pro for only $11.55!"
  • Reply 9 of 33
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,341member
    I'm sure Apple will be blamed in the future for people gambling away their money. 
    Actually, it'll be Tim's fault...
    williamlondonboltsfan17baconstang
  • Reply 10 of 33
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,362member
    It's possible, though not certain, that the SCOTUS ruling could eventually lead to the floodgates opening on new, sports gambling-related apps in the App Store.
    Wow, is this a leap!!! :)

    macxpress said:
    I'm sure Apple will be blamed in the future for people gambling away their money. 
    Actually, it'll be Tim's fault...
    Well, look who's here stirring the pot... ;)
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 33
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,867member
    brad6788 said:
    If this does happen, their services revenue will explode. 30% of all in app purchases....
    I'm sure the gambling sites already have a way around this since they actually aren't "purchasing" anything through them. If I use Apple Pay to purchase something through my iPhone, Apple doesn't get 30% of that charge. I would also think users would have to pre-fill their gambling accounts in a way that doesn't have anything to do with a purchase. When gambling, they aren't hitting a buy button, just accessing the money they have in their account, like transferring money between bank accounts using a banking iOS app. These don't cost anyone anything or people would be broke. The only purchase might be a buy-in charge when joining the gambling site. 
    brad6788
  • Reply 12 of 33
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,217member
    Fantastic. It’s always been very obvious that the big casino states were behind the restrictions against betting in the other states. Finally this special interest driven idiocy ends.
  • Reply 13 of 33
    The vast majority of sports betting in the U.S. is done illegally, so both sports ownership and states view that as a potential revenue boon. However, the current level of corruption in the U.S. doesn't bode well for how that will work out for the sports leagues. Guaranteed there will be some kind of major scandal involving point shaving/game throwing and the like.
    edited May 14 cgWerks
  • Reply 14 of 33
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,217member
    The vast majority of sports betting in the U.S. is done illegally, so both sports ownership and states view that as a potential revenue boon. However, the current level of corruption in the U.S. doesn't bode well for how that will work out for the sports leagues. Guaranteed there will be some kind of major scandal involving point shaving/game throwing and the like.
    “Current level of corruption”? LOL! Wherever there are 2 or more people there will be corruption. Today is no different from all the days which came before it.
    cgWerkstylersdadbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 15 of 33
    metrixmetrix Posts: 200member
    Apple I like your "walled garden" ban these apps. 
    edited May 14
  • Reply 16 of 33
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,217member
    This will open the door to more casinos that the states will regulate in order to scrape additional tax revenues. That’s really the extent of it. It’ll move the underground betting money into the mainstream. No big deal.
    baconstang
  • Reply 17 of 33
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,099member
    linkman said:
    I am quite convinced that a lot or most online wagering sites that have something like blackjack or slots are rigged. The players are the ones getting played. It's a lot like those online auction sites that advertise "Joe got a MacBook Pro for only $11.55!"

    He does, what they do not tell you that Joe and everyone else biding has to pay be places bid, and the bid price goes up 1 penny at a time, so the $11.55 MacBook took 1155 bids. if Joe was smart and did not place too many bids and only bid at the end, the $11.50 most likely cost him close to $100 including bid and fine did price. Like slot machines the winner only wins because others had to loose money in the process. Everyone is paying to help Joe get a cheap laptop. It is kind of like the what the government does, they take money from everyone so they can give out cheat things to a few people.
  • Reply 18 of 33
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,099member
    I'm sure Apple will be blamed in the future for people gambling away their money. 
    You definitely know where this is heading, people will lose lots of money and they will blame Apple because phone did not prevent them from losing their money.
  • Reply 19 of 33
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,362member
    SpamSandwich said:
    “Current level of corruption”? LOL! Wherever there are 2 or more people there will be corruption. Today is no different from all the days which came before it.
    Well, yes and no. The floodgates that were somewhat keeping civility in place have been opened.
  • Reply 20 of 33
    baconstangbaconstang Posts: 489member
    Maybe Apple will add "In App Purchases" to "Numbers"...
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