Apple Receives Another Consumer Complaint Over Illegal Gambling Apps

Two plaintiffs, adult residents of Oregon and Alabama, have filed a class-action suit against Apple Inc., accusing it of facilitating illegal gambling by operating as an unlicensed casino. According to Tuesday’s filing, the casino-style games developed by DoubleU Games Co. Ltd., and distributed through Apple’s App Store, constitute illegal gambling pursuant to 25 states’ laws.

The Northern District of California complaint explained that DoubleU’s games generate money in several ways, including through the “Freemium Model.” Thereunder, consumers can download apps for free but then are offered optional additional in-app features that require payments.

The filing further explained that when consumers download and first open DoubleU’s casino apps, they are given free “coins” or “chips” to start playing games like blackjack, roulette, poker, keno, and bingo. Reportedly, losses result in the loss of coins or chips, and wins additional coins or chips. The complainants alleged that in the end, consumers run out of coins or chips and are then prompted to use real money to purchase additional in-game tokens.

Allegedly, wins can never be cashed out as real money; winning simply means acquiring more playing time. According to the plaintiffs, this scheme “violates the anti-gambling laws of the twenty-five states that are at issue in this case.”

The plaintiffs propose a multi-state class of consumers who paid money to Apple for coins to wager on the DoubleU Casino, as well as separate state classes. The complaint seeks the recovery of gambling losses via more than two dozen states’ civil statutes and an unjust enrichment claim.

Other suits have recently challenged similar conduct. In January, a proposed class action was filed against Apple for allegedly illegally profiting from its role as slot machine games’ distributor and payment processor. A month ago, the same counsel representing the plaintiffs here, Pearson Simon & Warshaw LLP, Tycko & Zavareei LLP, and Kopelowitz Ostrow Ferguson Weiselberg Gilbert, filed a parallel action against Google for its role in distributing games by DoubleU.