Apple hit with another lawsuit claiming it benefits from illegal gambling apps

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple has been hit with another class action lawsuit claiming that it profits from illegal gambling apps on the App Store.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


The complaint, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday, specifically names casino apps developed by DoubleU Games Co. It alleges that the apps constitute illegal gambling pursuant to various state laws.

More specifically, the lawsuit claims that Apple operates as an "unlicensed casino" by permitting and facilitating illegal gambling. It takes issue with free-to-play casino games, which use in-game currency in lieu of actual money. However, the lawsuit notes that users can purchase more coins or chips using actual currency.

"Paying money in a game for a chance to win more playing time violates the anti-gambling laws of" at least 25 states, the complaint reads. It seeks class action status in those 25 states.

It also cites research that states most of the revenue earned from casino apps is made from a small portion of players, who are "specifically targeted" because of the large amounts of money they will spend.

"Accordingly, Apple actively enables, permits, promotions, and profits from illegal gambling," the complaint contends.

The plaintiffs named in the lawsuit are Joshua McDonald and Michael Helsel. The former plaintiff is said to have spent $4.99 on in-game currency, while Helsel is said to have made at least five separate coin purchases of at least $107.99 each, as well as additional purchases.

The lawsuit, which demands a jury trial, asks for an injunction prohibiting Apple from taking part in the allegedly illegal action. It also seeks statutory damages and other costs.

This isn't the first lawsuit claiming that Apple hosts or benefits from illegal gambling apps.

Back in October 2020, a woman sued Apple for hosting illegal gambling apps after she spent thousands on in-game coins. Another lawsuit from January targeted Apple for its 30% cut of casino app revenue. In January, a class action lawsuit homed-in on Apple and casino-style apps developed by Zynga.


Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    At what point does one draw the line between casino and arcade? Last time I checked, I had to pay real money at the arcade for more play time too given I wasn’t good enough to earn free credits. Knowing of course, that no matter what the outcome, I wouldn’t be paid back in real currency even if I won the game I played.

    IMO, the app in question could be a straight up poker game. If I knew that no matter what happens, I wouldn’t be paid out in real currency, I wouldn’t consider it gambling as it is in effect, a one way transaction.
    sdw2001killroyradarthekatapplguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    fenlynfenlyn Posts: 6member
    Paying for a game for a chance to win more playing time is illegal?  So, pinball is illegal in those states, too?
    killroyradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 14
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 715member
    Apple has enough resources to employ skilled people to prevent scam. If blames are true, giving all that profit to charity would be good solution.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 14
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,462member
    I guess Apple should just license these apps the same way the country and state licenses Lotto games, which is gambling same as bingo, which is all over the place. 
    killroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 14
    amar99amar99 Posts: 53member
    By suing Apple for this, wouldn't the plaintiff benefit from Apple benefiting from gambling Apps? Hmm...
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 14
    killroykillroy Posts: 78member
    And what about "pay to win" loot boxs in games.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 14
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 8,881member
    Just some lawyer jabbing his mosquito proboscis into the Apple host to suck some blood.
    brometheuswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 14
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,312moderator
    If the games are illegal, wouldn’t the plaintiffs be subject to criminal prosecution for partaking?  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 14
    rcfarcfa Posts: 936member
    It’s still not clear to me why porn or even ever-so-slightly explicit Kamasutra apps are outlawed from the AppStore, but gambling and gory shoot them to bloody pieces games are welcome.

    Since when is fucking worse than killing and gambling away child support?
  • Reply 10 of 14
    zeus423zeus423 Posts: 92member
    rcfa said:
    It’s still not clear to me why porn or even ever-so-slightly explicit Kamasutra apps are outlawed from the AppStore, but gambling and gory shoot them to bloody pieces games are welcome.

    Since when is fucking worse than killing and gambling away child support?
    Agreed. This is why walking down the censorship path is such a dangerous journey. Tech companies should stick to making tech, not being the censorship police.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 319member
    rcfa said:
    It’s still not clear to me why porn or even ever-so-slightly explicit Kamasutra apps are outlawed from the AppStore, but gambling and gory shoot them to bloody pieces games are welcome.

    Since when is fucking worse than killing and gambling away child support?
    This is a major problem that those blocking ideas they do not agree with. It’s all ok until someone decides something they like is banned. 

    As for the App Store and porn it is something that makes sense a large number of people consider it to be offensive. Apple refusing to allow it is no different from Walmart not having Penthouse in its magazine section. It’s not that they particularly care and might welcome the sale of something to get another customer in the store, but the complaints and bad press offset any increase in sales. I equate to not hiring at outspoken agitator with a political agenda. No matter how good they are at their job it’s not worth dealing with the fallout from their outside of work activities. 
    killroy
  • Reply 12 of 14
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,132member
    rcfa said:
    It’s still not clear to me why porn or even ever-so-slightly explicit Kamasutra apps are outlawed from the AppStore, but gambling and gory shoot them to bloody pieces games are welcome.

    Since when is fucking worse than killing and gambling away child support?
    But if the gory shoot them to bloody pieces game depicts someone wearing a uniform with a patch of the Confederate flag, the game will also be outlawed. But if the patch was that of a swastika, they will be welcome.

    A game where the player drives a German Panzer tank flying a swastika flag and blowing up the good guys .... welcome. A game where the player is driving "The Genera Lee" form "The Duke of Hazard" and chasing the bad guys .... outlawed.

    No one has ever claimed that PC  (political correctness) makes any sense.  
    beowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 14
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,132member

    jimh2 said:
    rcfa said:
    It’s still not clear to me why porn or even ever-so-slightly explicit Kamasutra apps are outlawed from the AppStore, but gambling and gory shoot them to bloody pieces games are welcome.

    Since when is fucking worse than killing and gambling away child support?
    This is a major problem that those blocking ideas they do not agree with. It’s all ok until someone decides something they like is banned. 

    As for the App Store and porn it is something that makes sense a large number of people consider it to be offensive. Apple refusing to allow it is no different from Walmart not having Penthouse in its magazine section. It’s not that they particularly care and might welcome the sale of something to get another customer in the store, but the complaints and bad press offset any increase in sales. I equate to not hiring at outspoken agitator with a political agenda. No matter how good they are at their job it’s not worth dealing with the fallout from their outside of work activities. 
    But there doesn't need to be a large number of people that consider it to be offensive, to be banned. Just a small number of outspoken people using the PC (political correctness) card, can get an app banned. 

    I bet there's a much, much larger number of people offended by the swastika than that of the Confederate flag or porn. All three are protected speech, but which are banned from the app stores? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 14
    States have different legal tests for something to be considered gambling. Usually, we it needs three legs of a stool - 1) you pay a consideration (something of value, money, an item of some sort), for 2) a chance two win a prize (something of value), 3) on an event whose outcome is based on chance. The extent to which it is chance (random) varies from state to state. Some consider it must be wholly random, others mainly random and others partially random. It may be that some states consider winning more time as being "valuable" and the person is clearly paying for the opportunity to win "value" on a random event and therefore it would be considered gambling - that is what they appear to be arguing. If it is gambling it is either illegal or it is regulated and therefore the operator of the game would need a license in the states where it is legal. Weird world, I know. 
    watto_cobra
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