More secret iOS gambling apps have been found hidden in puzzle games

Less than a week ago, I reported that a few apps on the Apple AppStore that have been reported as ‘online casinos’ disguised as children’s games. And now, even more of these sketchy apps have been found—this time in harmless-looking puzzle apps.

App developer @keleftheriou, who found the secret gambling dens in children’s games, posted again about finding similar gambling dens in a few puzzle apps. They include a match-three puzzle game called “Lucky Stars”, and a game called “Vegas Pirates”. These games are not available anymore when I tried to find them.

Just like the previously reported apps, the puzzle game apps are just your average puzzle games if opened in the United States—but they turn into online gambling dens if you change your location to another country using a VPN. This time, the apps make the switch if you change your location to Russia.

The apps lets you gamble with their different payment options including Visa, Mastercard, Papara, Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. According to @keleftheriou, the developer of the apps—Marina Misko—had several gambling apps, all posing as games for kids 4 and up. Before they were removed, they had been on the App Store for several months, and even had multiple updates approved by Apple.

Gambling apps are actually permitted by Apple, as long as they’re “geo-restricted to regions where that gambling is permitted by law”. But having something like a gambling den hidden in an innocent puzzle game means that kids can potentially gamble with their parents’ money without knowing what they’ve done.

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Dzamira Dzafri