Apple facing lawsuit over Zynga casino-style games

The class-action suit alleges Apple is profiting from apps that run afoul of gambling laws in as many as 25 states.


Another day, another lawsuit for Apple, it would seem. The tech giant is under fire once again, this time by way of a class-action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Columbia. The suit alleges that Apple has been profiting off of a variety of casino-style apps that run afoul of anti-gambling laws in as many as twenty-five states. In the filing, the games in question were referred to as “Zynga Casino Apps.”

The lawsuit charges that Apple is responsible for the violation by providing iOS development tools, hosting the games on the App Store and collecting profits from microtransactions. As the sole proprietor of the App Store, Apple allegedly "permits and facilitates illegal gambling by operating as an unlicensed casino," allowing users to buy "coins" or "chips" for use in Las Vegas-style games like blackjack, roulette, poker, keno, bingo, and other card and gambling games. Unlike real gambling, users cannot be paid in real money for winning, but rather earn extended playing time. 

Obviously, the entire arcade gaming industry is built on the premise that players will drop small amounts of money to extend the playing time of various titles. Pinball machines operate in a similar fashion. The crux of the suit appears to hang onto the fact that the Zynga apps depict games that are typically found in casinos, such as blackjack, slot machines, and bingo.

The suit was filed yesterday and the plaintiffs seek an injunction, damages, restitution, and legal fees.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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