In India, betting apps have never been legalized, and as a result, the Indian government has implemented a ban on these apps within the country. This decision was made after an investigation uncovered that numerous betting apps had established connections with third-party entities based in China. Such connections were deemed a potential threat to India’s integrity and sovereignty. Consequently, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order to prohibit the use of these betting apps throughout India. To reinforce this directive, the government has also instructed Apple to remove all unauthorized loan and betting apps from their app store. MeitY (Ministry of Electronics Information and Technology) has published a comprehensive list comprising 232 apps, encompassing gaming, loan, and betting applications, which are now restricted from operating within India.
The apps banned in India will include betting and loan apps with third-party links with China. The Indian government would forbid unauthorized lending applications with connections to China through third parties. The Ministry of Home Affairs investigated these apps around six months ago when several cases of suicide were noticed in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It turned out that the loan apps in India were debt-trapping users and increasing their interest by up to 3,000%. In addition, betting apps connected to China pose a threat to the country’s security. These are the reasons why MeitY prohibited betting apps in India.
Apple argues that since these betting apps are legal in other countries, removing them in India poses a challenge. Also, they are seeking a concrete reason to remove these restricted gambling apps. Therefore, apple has temporarily removed a few of the prohibited apps while working on the “best possible solution” for the others. Based on the information that Apple has reportedly been asked to look into ways to ensure that the order is implemented, “Apple contended that since these apps are valid and legal in other geographies, it would be difficult for Apple to bar them outright in India.” but it has not objected to complying with the February directive from the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY).
The unrestricted availability of betting apps to individuals possessing only a smartphone and debit card, coupled with minimal regulations and pervasive advertising promoting gambling, can potentially give rise to issues for certain individuals. Furthermore, the failure to remove these apps from the app store by Apple could result in significant challenges for the Indian government. Given the apps’ associations with China, there is a risk to the integrity and security of the nation. Moreover, these apps compromise national security by potentially accessing sensitive user information. Consequently, it would be highly advantageous for all parties involved if Apple were to enforce a ban on betting apps within its app store.