Apple pauses gambling ads in App Store after complaints

Apple says it has paused all gambling ads on the App Store.
Apple says it has paused all gambling ads on the App Store.

Apple reacted after users complained about the expansion of the App Store’s ad placement system.

US.- Apple says it has removed all gambling ads from its App Store after an update to its ad placement system sparked a flurry of complaints. Apple began rolling out the updated App Store ad placement system on Tuesday, including “You might also like” ads in rival app listings.

App Store developers complained about gambling ads cropping up in inappropriate places. It seems that Apple’s system wasn’t identifying where ads should be placed, resulting in ads for gambling apps being promoted on listings of apps for children and a gambling addiction recovery app. As well as gambling ads, the placement of ads for adult chat apps was also criticised.

Apple said: “We have paused ads related to gambling and a few other categories on App Store product pages.”

No details were provided about how long the pause will last or what Apple is doing to amend the situation so that gambling ads can go live again.

UK watchdog upholds complaints against Lottoland ads

Earlier this week, the UK ads watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), upheld complaints against ads for Lottoland that appeared on the search engines Bing and Google. The complaints argued that the ads were misleading because Lottoland offers lottery betting but doesn’t run lotteries itself.

The ads in question read: “Lottoland Irish Lottery – Only £2 Here” and “Charity Combo for £2. Win-win charity Lotto + BRC Scratch 50% off. Support UK Charities Here.” 

The ASA found that the use of the terms “Lotto”, “Irish Lottery” and “US Powerball Lotto” without further context could lead consumers to believe they were offering the opportunity to purchase official lottery tickets for actual draws. It found that the reference to UK charities in particular could reinforce the impression that Lottoland was an official lottery operator.  

Earlier this month, the ASA warned licensed operators in Britain to be aware of new Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) restrictions on gambling advertising, which came into force on October 1. The new restrictions include a ban on features that would have “strong appeal” to under-18s, including the use of top-level footballers and social media influencers.

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