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Woman sues Apple for hosting 'gambling apps' after spending thousands on in-game currency

Credit: Apple

Apple has been hit with a lawsuit alleging that free-to-play games on the App Store that feature in-game currency constitute illegal gambling.

The lawsuit, lodged Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, claims that Apple "promotes, enables, and profits" from gambling games on the App Store.

For example, the plaintiff in the case, Karen Workman, says she downloaded an app called "Jackpot Mania" in 2017, and "began purchasing coins through the app so he/she could continue to play for a chance to win free coins that would enable him/her to enjoy the game(s) for a longer period of time."

In the six months before filing the suit, Workman spent $3,312.19 on in-game coins, the lawsuit adds.

Although gambling apps are banned on the App Store, the complaint argues that apps with in-game currency still fall under the "gambling" category because users "have the ability to win and therefore acquire more playing time."

Furthermore, it argues that credits which are "recorded and allow one to extend play" are a thing of value. "The apps at issue record credits and allow the player to save them up and play later," the complaint reads, before accusing the App Store of hosting apps that violate Connecticut's gambling statutes.

"Apple is not some minor or incidental participant in these illegal gambling games. It is the principal promoter and facilitator of the illegal activity. Apple maintains dictatorial control over what apps can be downloaded from the App Store, and the payment method to purchase in-app items," the complaint reads.

The lawsuit, which is seeking class status, also asks for a refund of "all money paid through the illegal gambling games described herein," attorneys' fees; and an award for the plaintiff for "his/her services in this case on behalf of the class."