- Legal States
Melanie Porter January 26, 2021 2 min read
Tech Giants Accused of Profiting from Predatory Practices
Apple has been accused of hosting, facilitating, and profiting from illegal social casino games that identify, target, and exploit vulnerable individuals.
Apple Profiting From Illegal Casino Games
Tech giant Apple Inc. has been accused of hosting, facilitating and profiting from illegal free-to-play social casino apps on the App Store. The lawsuit also accuses Google and Facebook of profiteering from the exploitative casino apps.
The complaint was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California by plaintiffs Donald Nelson and Cheree Bibbs. The plaintiffs claim that social casino games are built on dubious practices and are both highly profitable and highly addictive. Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that many users, a sizable number of which are prone to problem gambling, have lost thousands of dollars to these apps and their predatory practices.
According to the numbers presented in the document, consumers spent around $ 6 billion on virtual casino chips in 2020 alone. Mr. Nelson and Ms. Bibbs have spent, in their own words, “at least $ 15,000 each”.
Tech Giants Help Social Casinos Exploit Gambling Addiction
Social casinos are a form of online gambling meant to emulate the classic Las Vegas slot machine experience. However, many of these apps do not in reality allow users to cash out. Instead, social casinos simply allow users to obtain more “spins” with the purchased or won chips.
The document focuses on the illegality of the apps themselves, but also accuses Apple of benefitting from the questionable activity, since it receives a 30% cut of all in-app purchases. According to the complaint, Apple and the social casinos it hosts are in a kind of symbiotic relationship. The apps benefit from the tech giant’s payment and distribution processing, while Apple earns a substantial percentage of the illegal profits.
But that is only scratching the surface. The lawsuit claims that Apple, Facebook and Google contribute to the success of social casinos through a combination of big-data and social network pressures. The platforms use their comprehensive user-data and reach to identify, target and exploit vulnerable individuals, the lawsuit alleges.
The complaint argues that, given their malpractice, social casinos should be considered illegal under the California Penal Code. Furthermore, the plaintiffs have asserted that the court has the authority to prevent Apple from further benefiting or participating in the illegal business.