Poker news | Oct 26, 2020
Does Apple Removing PokerBros Spell Doom for Poker Apps?
By RTR Dennis
PokerBros, a popular freemium poker app, was recently removed from the US-facing Apple Store. It has become quite popular in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 shutdowns. With land-based poker rooms and many other forms of entertainment now limited, poker apps have surged in popularity.
PokerBros has definitely benefited from the situation. However, it now faces an uncertain future after being “temporarily” removed by Apple due to “unexpected circumstances.”
Due to unexpected circumstances, the PokerBROS app was removed from the US Apple store yesterday. This means that for the next few days, new players will be unable to download the app from the US Apple Store. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.— PokerBROS (@PokerBrosApp) August 28, 2020
Further to our previous tweet, we expect the app to be back in the App Store for US customers within the next few days. Existing players with the app downloaded can still login as normal. This issue only impacts new downloads in the short term.— PokerBROS (@PokerBrosApp) August 28, 2020
What’s the Story Behind PokerBros Being Removed?
Neither Apple nor PokerBros has released any information on the app’s removal. Therefore, we have no way of knowing exactly what’s going on for the time being.
PokerBros claims that this removal is only temporary and limited to the American market. Others, however, aren’t so confident in the matter.
Twitter users have been quick to label PokerBros a scam. Accusations range from the app using a faulty algorithm to how they’re planning an exit scam with players’ money.
It’s a scam with an algorithm designed for terrible players to feel like they can play the game— Sky smiler (@Skysmilermusic) September 1, 2020
It's a scam who would have thunk it— Dogwisdom (@DogWisdomPoker) August 28, 2020
People can’t log in all over the US. It’s pretty obv the DOJ is shutting you down. Now let’s see if your agents have the coin actually sitting in a separate account or most of them gonna pull a FTP. The poker community isn’t ready for another FTP so expect blood this time— Scoot (@90scoot66) August 28, 2020
Sounds like an exit scam— Mr. Period (@MrPeriodRS) August 28, 2020
Again, no concrete information is available on why PokerBros is no longer available for US players. But users don’t seem to have much confidence in the team now that the app is gone.
Does PokerBros Violate US Laws?
As mentioned before, PokerBros uses a freemium model that doesn’t technically involve real-money gambling. Instead, players download the app for free and get a certain amount of chips upfront. PokerBros specifically lets players use chips in private games.
Eventually, though, most users run out of chips while playing at private tables. It’s at this point that players can buy more chips to keep the fun rolling.
This model has been generally accepted throughout the US for years. Many social gaming sites allow users to purchase more chips when they run out of freebies.
However, PokerBros has a quirky feature that lets players sell chips to other users. This aspect could potentially constitute illegal gambling.
Will Apple Target Other Poker Apps Too?
For the time being, PokerBros is still available on Google Play (Android). This element makes it less likely that the app’s founders are shutting down and running off with players’ money.
One potential scenario is that Apple is taking action against certain types of poker apps. The company made a rule in July 2019 that developers can no longer provide HTML5 gambling apps through the store. Instead, they must use Apple’s native programming language (officially effective as of March 2020).
Therefore, PokerBros could simply be gone because it hasn’t been coded in the native language. This idea would explain the “temporary” issue that the app’s owners refer to. If this is indeed the case, then Apple could remove other poker apps that fall into the same category.
Another possibility is that PokerBros has inspired many complaints. Apple may have, in turn, decided to review the app and deemed it unfit for their store.
Yet one more possibility is that Apple takes issue with the idea of players selling chips. Freemium apps are should be free, outside of the extra chip purchases of course. Players aren’t supposed to turn around and make profits under the free-play model.
In summary, the truth of this matter will likely come out in the near future. However, the fate of other free-play poker apps could be in jeopardy on the US-based App Store.