The two colossal companies, Apple and Google, removed a great number of apps from their stores. The reason was that those apps were presented as non-gambling apps but in reality, they were disguised online gambling apps with real money play.
A research conducted by Trend Micro revealed that those apps were mainly Asian-facing products with a strong focus on China, and were presented as tourist guides, wine tasting guides or even weather broadcasting apps. The truth was that they initially appear like non-gambling apps in order to avoid being exposed to the regulators of the Asian countries as well as the app stores’ policies.
The apps weren’t just available on the stores but they were very popular within the users, too. Some of them had been even ranked in the top 100 of iOS App Store or Google Play and had been reviewed over 100,000 times!
The producers of these apps found a turnaround to avoid the consequences of being detected by the regulatory authorities. The app descriptions which were posted weren’t relevant to their content while the reviews that were written, were fake and manipulated by the producers in order to refer to the supposed theme of the app. Moreover, the app might look “innocent” at first, but once it was launched in the store, the first update revealed the real content of the app.
Once Google and Apple took notice of this activity, they immediately removed the apps from the stores but the penetration in markets like China where online gambling is illegal, had been done. After a similar incident last year when an outraging number of 25,000 illegal gambling apps were removed from the iOS App Store, the Chinese government had called for the attention of Apple and Google. It seems though that the illegal apps keep finding their way back to the Chinese stores. So, the fight continues more fiercely as the local police have made many arrests of people that were involved in the production of these apps.
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