The timing of new iOS guidelines from Apple “could not be worse” for US gambling operators, says Digitain CCO Suren Khachatryan.
Just a few weeks ago, Apple confirmed that every app that involves real-money gaming must be native to iOS by the cut off date of 3 September.
This new App Store policy (guideline 4.7), which will be applied to every online casino and sportsbook in the US, therefore coincides directly with the start of the NFL season (5 September), as well as the NBA campaign getting underway in October.
Most online casinos and mobile sportsbooks use some sort of coding like HTML5 to create and operate their apps. The result is a different version of their website, which Apple no longer wants to be the case.
“The overall majority of gambling apps being adapted are essentially HTML5 products and websites,” explained Khachatryan. “This change in guidelines means that both operators and suppliers will need to realign resources – either to start building a native gambling app from scratch, or to port games from HTML5 to be native in iOS by 3rd September.
“The task for operators is large and it will be interesting to see if a sportsbook can be ported from HTML5 to iOS native within three months. My suspicion is that it will take longer.
“Depending on resource, it would typically take about eight weeks to port a slot game from HTML 5 to iOS native. When you consider how many slot games and table games there on the market, the task becomes daunting for both operators and suppliers.
“Ultimately, the challenge to port HTML content in iOS native is considerable – the size of the natively built games will eventually lead to lighter versions. So, in the end, it will be the customer that suffers as their experience is diluted due to lightweight native versions of the gambling products being developed.”
Research from StatCounter suggests that while in Europe as a whole penetration stands at just 25.53 per cent (and globally 22.74 per cent), this number is 49.41 per cent in North America, with the UK just behind on 48.77 per cent.
UK operators and suppliers are therefore, just like their US counterparts, under huge pressure to deliver change before the deadline, which comes just three weeks after the resumption of the Premier League in early August.