Gambling Ads Appear in App Store Listings for Developers

BY Dave Johnson

Published 26 Oct 2022

Gambling ads

Ads for gambling apps are appearing on the App Store listings for developers, and they’re not happy about it. 

Yesterday, Apple announced a new ad placement on the iPhone’s App Store to enable developers to advertise their apps in more places. These include the main Today tab and the “You Might Also Like” section at the bottom of individual app listings. 

Shortly after the announcement, ads started appearing in all these places, and you can identify them with their blue background and “Ad” icon. However, to several developers’ dismay, gambling app ads soon began popping up in the App Store’s listing. ”

Now my app’s product page shows gambling ads, which I’m really not OK with,” tweeted iOS developer Marco Arment. “Apple shouldn’t be OK with it, either.”

As Arment points out, Apple allows advertisers to show ads in app categories unrelated to their app. As a result, gambling app ads can appear in listings for categories such as Travel, Medical, Education, and Books. 

Issues With Having Gambling Ads in the App Store

Some developers have reportedly criticized Apple for showing gambling ads in the App Store as a whole. Besides its revenue from the ad placement, Apple also collects a 15 to 30 percent cut of the gambling app’s in-app purchases. 

While some described the act as greedy, others noted it’s a distance from policies that former CEO Steve Jobs upheld. 

Meanwhile, Apple allowing apps to run ads in other app listings has also resulted in accusations of anticompetitive behavior. Legal expert Florian Mueller described the new ad placement as a way to boost the effective app tax rate. So developers looking to avoid losing customers will now be forced to buy ads on their app pages. 

Earlier in the year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple was looking to boost its current advertising revenue to double-digit. The new ad placement is contributing to the company’s goal. 

Update: In response to several complaints on social media, Apple has paused gambling-related ads in the App Store. “We have paused ads related to gambling and a few other categories on App Store product pages,” says an Apple spokesperson to Apple Insider

A quick check confirmed the report — you’ll no longer find gambling app ads in the App Store.