Obviously, that doesn’t mean that no poker or casino related apps were available back then – in fact, the store was packed with play money clients, poker simulators that allowed you to practice against the AI, learning materials, tournament calendars and poker calculators. The common feature of all those apps was the fact that they didn’t allow the user to take part in any real money betting – but to say that Apple placed a blanket ban on any gambling related materials would be a gross overstatement.
Nevertheless, as the government adjusted its stance towards poker-related projects, allowing for the creation of several fenced state-level online markets like the one in Nevada, Apple also started singing to another tune and softened its stringent policy. As a result, sports betting apps appeared in the iTunes store with Betfair and Paddy Power being among the first gambling companies to offer their software there. As the floodgates opened, more real money apps became available, including the first poker packages like the one released by Bwin in the United Kingdom and Austria.
That doesn’t mean that Apple suddenly went rogue and stopped caring about the legal status of the games, offering gambling apps to anyone who wanted to download them. Quite the contrary; the geo-location feature allowed the company to activate such apps only in certain regions. What’s more, Apple operates separate App Stores for every country, which means that poker clients get approved only in places where mobile gambling is legal, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Russia – but if you download such an app, you can rest assured that you won’t be faced with country-specific restrictions that were put in place by the poker room itself.
Fortunately, if you find yourself on the wrong side of Steve Jobs’ anti-gambling policy, there’s no reason to despair or start browsing e-Bay in search of an Android device, as plenty of sites like Terminal Poker or mFortune offer browser based clients, which will work regardless of receiving Apple’s approval. Obviously, such apps might be inferior to downloadable software when it comes to bandwidth requirements or visuals, but in the end they allow you to play poker on the go and offer more or less the same game selection as their iTunes-based counterparts.