Apple has purged its Chinese App Store of fake gambling and lottery software. The company also banned a number of developers that tried to peddle these apps through its market.
The action was prompted by the Chinese television broadcaster - China Central Television (CCTV), who reported the existence of lottery and gambling apps in the App Store.
The broadcaster learned that a Chinese iPhone use searched the App Store for ‘lottery’ and received numerous results. He chose an app purporting to belong to Chongqing Welfare Lottery Distribution Center that operates legally and purchased tickets worth 122,000 Yuan (about $17.5). The report informs that the man is now seeking compensation from and that his case has been accepted by the Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court.
He later called the lottery center and discovered that it sold tickets only at brick-and-mortar betting stations in the city. According to national regulations, selling welfare lottery tickets online needs to be sanctioned by the Ministry of Finance.
CCTV says (Chinese) that starting late April and until the end of June, the victim of the fake lottery app called Apple’s customer service and went to complain to the company’s office in Shanghai, but he got no resolve.
Gambling is banned under the Chinese law, but not all of it. The state can organize lotteries and casinos are allowed to operate in some regions of the country. Hong Kong and Macau (also known as the ‘Monte Carlo of the Orient’) enjoy special legal systems that are closer to countries in Europe.
According to a report from Wall Street Journal, the total of apps Apple removed to abide by China’s rules has grown to 25,000. This is not the first time when the company makes an effort to stay in good graces with the country.
In January, Apple announced that it would give control over iCloud services for Chinese users to a local Chinese company, to comply with state law. The firm receiving the iCloud operations is owned by the Guizhou provincial government.
Apple was also quick to remove VPN apps when the Chinese local government banned services that were waiting for approval from the state. Multiple VPN providers complained at the time as all major services had been kicked out of the Store.