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iPhone game for children found to have a hidden casino

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Matthew Field
·2 min read
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App Store
App Store

A scam iPhone app posing as a children's game included a hidden online casino that only appeared to users outside the US.

The app, called "Jungle Runner 2k21", was initially approved by Apple's App Store team despite hidden code that flipped it from a simple running game to a casino where gamblers could play with real money without Apple's knowledge.

The iPhone app has since been blocked from the App Store.

Users who downloaded the game in certain countries were met with a website that featured a digital casino, rather than the game shown on the App Store, app developer Kosta Eleftheriou discovered.

Mr Eleftheriou said: "In order to pass App Review the app claims to be 'a fun running game', and in the US works like an extremely basic and very poorly designed kids game.

"The scam has been on the App Store for a few months, and has even received a couple of updates. The same developer also has another app that does the same thing!"

But users in Turkey and some parts of Europe were instead able to access the casino version instead.

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Mr Eleftheriou has previously pointed out a number of scam apps across the App Store and has sued Apple over claims fake versions of apps he developed have harmed his business.

Apple is facing legal and competition challenges over its App Store in Europe and the US, including a challenge from the developer of Fortnite, Epic Games.

In legal filings, Epic accuses Apple of being an ineffectual gatekeeper of the App Store and alleges its review process was akin to “bringing a plastic butter knife to a gun fight”.

However, Apple has robustly defended its review process, which it argues keeps the App Store clean of many apps that attempt to defraud or trick users into downloading faulty products.

In its own filing, Apple says it rejects up to 40pc of apps submitted to its app store.