It seems that there has been a few apps on the Apple AppStore that have been reported as ‘online casinos’ disguised as children’s games. Twitter user and app developer @keleftheriou tweeted of an app called “Jungle Runner 2k21”, which becomes a gambling platform if you set the VPN to a different country.
“The @AppStore app pretends to be a silly performer game for children…but if I set my VPN to Turkey and relaunch it becomes an online casino that doesn’t even use Apple’s IAP,” tweeted Eleftheriou.
The app is no longer available on the app store, but it has an online wheel to spin and gamble once you take off its simple monkey-themed platforming game facade. You’re able to “bet” money with their different payment options including Visa, Mastercard, Papara, Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum.
According to The Verge, the app’s developer ‘Colin Malachi’ also created a similar “gambling app hiding behind a game app” called “Magical Forest – Puzzle”. The app is also no longer available on the App Store.
Apparently, gambling apps are permitted by Apple, as long as they’re geo-restricted to regions where that gambling is permitted by law. However, apps hiding gambling behind something that attracts kids is something so sketchy, and so, so wrong.
Kids can potentially download apps like these without knowing what they actually are, and could even accidentally gamble with their parents’ money. Something similar happened to a kid who spent more than RM66,000 on in-app purchases—something that isn’t even anything to do with “gambling”. Apple also refused to refund the parent the money back as they didn’t inform the company within 60 days of the charges.