A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the technology and software giant Apple over their hosting of “free-to-play” casino-style apps in the App Store.
Many of these games have been developed by Zynga. Though they are free to download and play, they offer microtransactions and other in-app purchases.
This is then thought to be a violation of some of many of the gambling statutes across several US states. The lawsuit has been filed in the District of Columbia, but 25 states have been cited in the case as a whole.
The lawsuit lays out how Apple is culpable in this case. Though Zynga is the one developing the app, Apple provides iOS development tools and a space in their App Store for these games. For this, they will also receive a share of the profits from these apps.
This, therefore, makes them culpable in the class-action lawsuit as they are allowing what is effectively an unlicensed casino to operate through their systems.
New players on these apps will be granted a set of chips to start their play. However, to continue playing once these are used up, they will have to buy more through a microtransaction. Though players are unable to withdraw any winnings, they are encouraged to spend more to be able to keep playing.
What’s more, many of the consumer protection laws that are usually in place in well-regulated casinos can not be found in these free-to-play casino games. It is a clear issue of compliance that needs to be addressed to create a well-regulated casino environment that is safe for all players.