Why Apple is not ready to remove betting apps from App Store in India

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The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) requested Apple and Google to eliminate gambling applications from their respective app stores in February. While Google complied and removed the apps in question, Apple has reportedly asked Indian authorities to provide a substantial justification. As stated in a report by ET, Apple has expressed the need for a “specific reason or legal requirement” in order to fully adhere to the government’s directive of removing betting apps from its App Store. The tech giant, based in Cupertino, has not outrightly refused to comply with the order but has emphasized the inability to arbitrarily eliminate these apps and restrict their availability in India.

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According to the report, Apple has argued that since these apps are valid and legal in other regions, it would be challenging for the company to entirely ban them in India. Nevertheless, Apple has been requested to explore possible ways of implementing the order.

In February, MeitY issued a list of 138 gaming and betting apps that were prohibited from operating in India. Subsequently, Apple executives and Indian IT officials held a meeting in March. Interestingly, three of the banned apps, namely Betway, BetNetix, and Bet Analytix, are still accessible on the Apple App Store. However, these apps have already been removed from the Google Play Store.

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The banned apps were allegedly in violation of Section 69A of the IT Act. During the banning process, officials believed that the apps contained material posing a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the country.

The report also highlighted that when the government issues takedown orders, Apple has three options: either inform MeitY about the inability to remove the apps and provide a reason, challenge the government in court as Twitter did, or comply with the directive.

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